The Evansville Area Plan Commission started hearing about the parking situation on West Franklin months ago, and now, after a few months of waiting, a study has been released making recommendations to the board.
Alta Engineering presented the results from their focus group study. They started off with existing conditions, finding that the current number of spaces, 1,178 in total, were only occupied 52% of the time during peak hours. They say that stat may be a bit misleading, proximity and private use restrictions discourage and limit potential parkers.
One of the major recommendations was to ensure residents who live in the corridor could continue parking. The Alta representative said that during focus groups, residents made it clear that they would like to park close to their homes. Alta recommended creating a parking permit system to ensure residents parking near to their abodes.
Another major recommendation is one that does not come as a surprise. Many folks had been talking about turning a portion of West Franklin into an Overlay Parking District. This would both ease and simplify parking regulations for businesses. As it stands, businesses need a certain amount of parking, on a case by case basis. The Alta representative put a conservative number at reducing the minimum number of spots by 25%.
To oversee parking on West Franklin, the engineering company recommended creating a board to oversee it all. They say the board should include a representative from the Franklin Street Business Association, the Franklin Street Events Association, the Lamasco Neighborhood Association and an at large resident representative.
As well the study showed a few maps that would change how the streetscape looks. Since people may be parking further away, they want increased lighting. The study also pushed for increased ease of travel. That may mean bike lines that are protected by parking spaces, and widened sidewalks.
The residents and business owners were pleased with the study. They say they feel like the engineers really understand where they are coming from.
For a full look at all of the recommendations — follow this link.