I'm sure you're all on pins and needles about that parking study, so without further delay, here's what I wrote for Tuesday's Press about it -- www.bristolpress.com.
If a parking garage is part of the downtown project, it’s going to have to bring in revenue to support it, said Chris Granatini of Tighe & Bond, a firm that the BDDC hired to do a parking study of downtown.
Granatini said the last thing the city wants is to have people driving up and down the street looking for a free parking space. The time to institute a fee for parking is when the new downtown is built, he said.
John Lodovico, who serves on the BDDC board, said he didn’t disagree about the necessity of charging for parking but warned that people wouldn’t like it.
“It’s going to be quite a culture shock,” said Lodovico.
Granatini and a colleague, Joe Balskus, gave a presentation to the BDDC Monday about the downtown parking situation.
Granatini said 1,900 parking spaces are regularly used out of a total of 4,700 spaces downtown, when all public and private lots are considered.
The former mall site, which is expected to be developed by Renaissance Downtowns, is tentatively slated to have 750 residential units, a 100-room hotel, commercial space and 1,550 parking spaces.
“The existing supply can accommodate what’s proposed in the future,” said Granatini.
Frank Johnson, chairman of the BDDC, said it’s important to remember that what Renaissance has now is a “concept plan” that may well change.
The firm identified several places they referred to as “hotspots” where parking is in high demand.
The hotspots on the street were along
Off the street, the hotspots included the municipal parking near the post office where
The parking analysis suggests several potential spots for new parking lots, including the Bristol Boys and Girls Club site on
The study also advises “road diets,” or a narrowing of some multi-lane streets like
Johnson said an alternate idea might be to accomplish the same thing by expanding the former mall site out to include those lanes and have additional parking on the property. Johnson said it is also possible that a parking facility could be a public-private venture.
Granatini said the city could gain some parking spaces in the municipal garage between City Hall and the police station, which he said is not used to capacity. He suggested that perhaps the city could assign some of the spaces to municipal employees to encourage its use.