The Downtown Parking Study findings and recommendations were presented to Council for their consideration and further discussion, in the Salida City Council work session on Monday, Oct. 7. Walker Consultants was chosen out of six firms that bid for the project to conduct a parking analysis for the City of Salida. It is now walking the city through the preliminary recommendations phase of their findings. Finalized recommendations will be brought back to Council in the beginning of November.
Glen Van Nimwegen introduced Mallory Baker with Walker Consultants who has been the facilitator at the staff meetings, stakeholder meetings, downtown Salida events and public open house events for the study. Those early events encouraged community member input, while sharing some early results of the downtown parking study events, conducted in the early weekends of August this year.
“We hired Walker Consultants, I think back in June or July, as they have had long experience in this line of work. They’ve been doing a lot of work … we are in month five and trying to wrap up by month six,” said Van Nimwegen.
Mallory Baker started her presentation by saying, “What we are talking about today is our scope of work and what we were able to accomplish in the last couple months and how we went about this work and how we approached it.”
“I’ll go over what we found … some of our most pressing issues that we think City Council should be talking about now to implement in the next 6 to 12 months,” said Baker [I will address] next steps and the rest are some long-range strategic planning goals, spending and funding, which is discussing how much we think things will cost and how to fund some of these strategies. Finally, just some things to consider as City Council moves forward.”
The study include a variety of analyses factors; a quantitative analysis conducted in early summer measuring the inventory of parking available, the occupancy, length of stay, general observations and sufficiency projections.
“We looked at best practices. We want to make sure that folks understand we are not recommending anything that is wildly out of the norm for a community of this size,” said Baker. “We want to recommend parking management strategies that are innovative but have also worked in communities by doing interviews with parking managers, parking departments and city managers in other communities just to see what they have implemented and how those programs have fared over time.”
Baker continued, “ Salida is a unique community and there isn’t anything really like Salida, but there are other communities that have similar tourism patterns and population size, that we could look to.”
Among the findings:
- A high demand for parking in the key retail corridors.
- The length of stay analysis determined that the demand in the downtown retail area is limiting the ability of on-street spaces to serve an optimal number of users, but nowhere near as high as they had anticipated the results to be.
- While the reasons are not clear, Baker suggested that this may be due to the signage that is posted for 2-hour parking in the downtown area and that tourists are unaware of the current lack of parking enforcement in that area.
Some recommendations that the community can expect to see in the November presentation to the City of Salida will be the unification of curbs and curb markings. This entails making the curb markings (yellow, red, blue) paint more uniform around town to help with clarification. Among the strategic parking recommendations is paid parking, with the possibility of implementing paid parking that would be seasonal, in recognition of the employees who work downtown during peak seasons.
Without official recommendations to the Salida City Council, nothing was decided upon. However, one thing that Walker Consultants highly suggested was bringing some type of parking enforcement into the areas the study highlighted as problem areas with too long of stays.