Board of Public Works Approved Downtown Parking Team Recommendation
Discussions pertaining to parking in Marshfield’s downtown area have taken place for several years and the City has recently approved a plan to help improve perceived conditions.
“This discussion came up in response to a lot of the concerns businesses were having with the downtown developments from the Downtown Master Plan,” explained Main Street Marshfield Executive Director Angie Eloranta. “The biggest concern the businesses were having with 2nd Street and the 200 Block Plaza was parking.”
“There is often a direct tie between the public’s perception of reasonably available, convenient parking and their willingness to shop and seek services in the downtown area,” said City Administrator Steve Barg. “Anything that improves this perception has the potential to positively impact the downtown business community.”
Early last year, the City formed a Downtown Parking Team to help address the subject. Comprised of City representatives and members of the downtown business community, the Team evaluated all aspects of the issue, including on-street parking, parking availability, parking permits, parking enforcement, and other related topics.
The goal of this study, and the recommendations that were made and adopted, is to improve parking for customers and others in the downtown area,” said Barg. “The Downtown Parking Team will likely reconvene later this year or in early 2018 to determine if these measures have helped, and whether other ideas should be considered.”
One outcome of the study was the recommendation to remove parking limits on certain downtown streets.
“Last Spring, we did a parking survey for all the downtown businesses and we were hearing a lot of the same issues,” said Eloranta. “The committee reviewed these issues and are now making recommendations to the Board of Public Works. I am sure there will still be issues with parking, but we hope this is a step towards improvement.”
With the goal of allowing for longer term parking where appropriate, in hopes of relieving some parking demand in the core downtown, restrictions were recommended to be removed from the following streets:
- South Side of 3rd Street from Walnut Avenue to Chestnut Avenue;
- South Side of 4th Street from Walnut Avenue to Chestnut Avenue;
- North Side of 5th Street from Walnut Avenue to Chestnut Avenue;
- Both Sides of 3rd Street from Maple Avenue to the Alley East of Maple Avenue;
- North Side of 4th Street from Maple Avenue to Cedar Avenue;
- Both Sides of 5th Street from Maple Avenue to Cedar Avenue;
- North Side of 6th Street from Maple Avenue to Cedar Avenue.
As part of the Downtown Parking Team Implementation Plan presented on May 1 to the Board of Public Works, the removal of these on-street parking restrictions was approved. Moving forward, the changes will be monitored for effectiveness.
“We realize that removing parking restrictions may create other issues in some areas and there may be a need to re-establish some restrictions, however, we believe this will be a positive step overall for our downtown,” wrote Public Work Director Dan Knoeck in a memo to downtown property owners and tenants on April 27.
Eloranta hopes that removing parking restrictions will ultimately benefit both downtown businesses and their customers.
“It gives downtown employees another parking option that doesn’t require a permit,” said Eloranta. “We want to encourage downtown employees to either park in the back lots or on a side street. Central Avenue should always be left open for customers. We are also aware that certain lots have a higher demand for parking and so we hope this helps to alleviate some of that demand as well.”
“Relaxing parking restrictions where appropriate can be expected to give customers a greater confidence they will be able to find a decent parking spot near one or more businesses they would like to visit, and that they can spend an adequate amount of time downtown without getting a parking ticket, “ added Barg.
Eloranta said that allowing customers to park for longer periods of time provides them the flexibility to explore more downtown shops without worrying about parking limitations.
“The lots are three hours, but if someone is getting their hair done or going to dinner and movie, they can easily surpass three hours as well,” she added.
Those with questions about the Downtown Parking Team Implementation Plan and/or the removal of parking restrictions are welcome to contact Public Works at 715-486-2034.