Parking solution is needed

Published 8:23 pm Saturday, April 13, 2013

With a developer planning as many as 68 new loft apartments in the heart of downtown, the city cannot afford to put off for any longer a solution to the parking problem downtown.

The new residents will need somewhere to park their vehicles. The Monument Companies say they believe their tenants in the lofts on West Washington Street will be able to park in the Cherry Street public lot behind the building. But that lot, which has only 100 spaces to begin with, rarely has 68 or more available at any one time, even on a weekend.

Folks who work, eat and shop downtown need somewhere to park as well. The viability of downtown businesses relies upon having parking that is convenient, safe and available when the patron arrives.

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A handful of relatively minor changes have been made to the downtown parking situation in recent years. Some spots in the Cherry Street lot were converted to all-day parking rather than two-hour parking. The two-hour spots in the courthouse parking lot were shifted to be closer to shops and restaurants, rather than the entrance to the courthouse. But while needed, those changes didn’t increase the total number of spaces available.

The city has in the past discussed a parking garage, but it’s hard to imagine now where they would put one. The Monument Companies seems to think the city has some solutions in the works. We’re looking forward to seeing what they are.