After months of work, the Downtown Parking Study is finished.
During Tuesday night's meeting Director of Public Works Nan Newlon presented the report's key findings—which, at first glance, shows Downers Grove is definitely utilizing its 4,000 downtown parking spaces. Some of the specific issues in the report include:
- There's not enough parking to support future development.
Conditions at peak usage:
- During the mid-day on weekdays parking north of the railroad tracks is 90 percent occupied—indicating a shortage.
- During peak times, the parking deck is also at 90 percent capacity.
- Commuter parking permits are actually lower than some nearby towns.
- There's a demand for overnight and reverse-commute parking.
- Ironically, commuters who pay the most park the furthest away from the train station.
The consulting firm and village officials came up with a variety of recommendations, including:
- Create 15-minute spaces at the ends of blocks for some businesses.
- Change some parking lot spaces from three hour to one hour parking limits.
- Convert Level 5 of the parking deck into a daily fee level.
- Turn Lots A and B into shopper parking.
- Charge for overnight parking.
- Regularly adjust parking rates.
- Investigate ways to increase parking north of the tracks.
- Implement an anti-shuffling ordinance that would prevent people from moving their car from one parking spot to another on the same block to avoid parking space time limit regulations.
Mayor Martin Tully commented the good side of being tight on parking is that it's an indication the downtown area is doing well. Tully was also pleased the parking deck is used so much and noted it doesn’t make sense that the commuters parking the furthest away are paying the most.
Commissioner Marilyn Schnell reiterated the importance of finding a way to create more parking north of the tracks. The north side has always been a problem area, she said, and as the businesses there continue to prosper the village needs to do something to alleviate the parking issues.