Parking audits look to solve congestion in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The increase of students at the University of Missouri has resulted in less parking available in downtown Columbia and neighborhoods such as East Campus and Benton-Stephens.

Smart Growth America, a national nonprofit group, gave Columbia a grant a year ago to help out in technical assistance workshops to receive hands-on assistance from national experts on parking growth.

Volunteers and employees of the city will be collecting data through Saturday this week on different parking patterns and information on parking use and turnover.

Data will be collected and given to consultants at Smart Growth America.

"They'll analyze it and kind of see what our situation is and come up with recommendations for us as a city, and then we will present those results at a September 22nd community forum that will be here at City Hall," said City Management Fellow Leah Christian.

One of these options consists of adding parking meters in these areas ran by ParkMobil, a smartphone app that allows you to pay and buy more parking time for your meter.

Christian also said another option is build more residential parking lots for permit-holders.

After the open forum on September 22nd, an invite-only stakeholders workshop will be held the next day to discuss possibilites.