Columbia to Hear Residents' Downtown Parking Concerns

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works announced a public meeting Tuesday to discuss parking concerns in the area around St. Joseph Street, Ash Street and the Boone County Family Resources (BCFR) building. Residents and BCFR officials are concerned Brookside on College Avenue tenants are parking in the incorrect lot, creating frustration. 

BCFR Executive Director Robyn Kaufman said her office has increased "no parking" signs in its lot and has even had to tow some vehicles. Kaufman is also concerned drivers are also using BCFR's lot to go back and forth between Walnut and Ash streets. She expects this will get worse with expected closures to accommodate construction on the new Short Street garage.

Melissa Gephardt, a St. Joseph Street resident, also said she wants traffic and parking problems on her street to decrease. She said she has had a hard time parking there since MU classes started in August. "There was a huge difference once Brookside people started moving in there. It was noise... cars and people," Gephardt said.

Steven Sapp of Columbia Public Works said he does not anticipate parking problems to go away, but the city wants to hear neighbors' concerns. Sapp said one possible solution is implementing a parking permit program for the North Village area, including Park Avenue, St. Joseph Street, St. James Street, Ash Street and Hubble Drive. This would prevent Brookside tenants and downtown guests from parking in those residential areas. Sapp also said the city has sold all spaces in the Short Street Garage expected to be completed next fall.

The public meeting will be Oct. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at city hall.