Task force to give final recommendations on parking
COLUMBIA - The Parking and Traffic Management Task Force will present its research findings and recommendations on citywide parking issues to the city council one last time on Monday.
Michael Trapp, Second Ward Councilman and co-chair of the task force, said the group has disbanded and finished this final report months ago. He said the presentation was originally scheduled for the spring, but was postponed until now because of a scheduling conflict for a council member.
The report says the formation of the task force is a response to a resolution that the city council passed on June 6, 2016.
Trapp said during the six months the task force members met, they went over some citywide traffic counts and data on existing parking for downtown student housing.
He said “the big outcome” and main focus of the last presentation is to suggest that the council form a permanent commission to further address the needed parking policies and strategies.
“We’ve been making our decisions about parking kind of blindly,” he said. “We don’t really understand the demand for parking and how is that likely to grow. So we recommended pursuing answers to those questions, hiring a consultant.”
He said even though the members dedicated a lot of time to investigating, they were only able to come up with some general recommendations.
“Right now, we’re just kind of guessing,” he said.
He said he believes a longstanding commission would provide more data-driven solutions and create a business plan to address parking in a reasonable manner.
"We’ve kind of felt like, ‘Alright, we feel like there’s not enough parking. Let’s build another parking garage,’" Trapp said. "That’s really not been based on numbers or science or a formula.”
He said Monday's presentation will include not only the task force’s recommendations to the council but also a list of ideas for the future commission to explore.
According to Trapp and the report, issues the members will discuss include:
- Building a communal parking system or a fee-in-lieu program that allows private downtown landowners to share parking spaces with the city after paying a fee
- Requiring downtown apartment complexes to provide either adequate parking spaces or compensation for their lack of parking
- Creating a more walkable downtown
- Prohibiting the resale of parking permits at a higher price than charged by the city
- Moving parking garage metered spaces to the ground floor
Trapp said although parking spaces in the Downtown Commercial Development Area, or M-DT, makes up only a small fraction of citywide parking, the area “draws all the attention” and will be a main point of discussion at the meeting.
He said he expects the city to pass an ordinance to form the permanent commission this fall.
The presentation will take place at the council’s work session at 5 p.m. July 17.
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