For those of you wondering when I am going to write another riveting column about parking, have no fear, it is time for another update on our efforts to improve parking in Hudson’s Central Business District. A quick recap on why this is a topic worthy of column space:
- In response to concerns raised by business owners, citizens, and visitors about the availability of parking in downtown Hudson, the Chamber and the City split the cost of hiring a third-party consultant to conduct a parking study and develop a long-term parking plan.
- The resulting study showed that there is not enough parking in downtown Hudson and the busiest times are in the evening and on weekends. The long-term plan offered several solutions, some easy and inexpensive, others more complex and quite costly (for example, a parking ramp).
While It is quite reasonable to be cynical about the prospects of a plan doing anything more than collecting dust on a shelf, I’m thrilled to report that this is not the case when it comes to our parking plan. In fact, one of the recommendations in the plan, to stripe more on-street parking spots, has already been completed by the City. On a street where the curb side parking is not marked, we lose parking places as gaps between cars are left that eat up space, but are not large enough to park a vehicle in. To see an example of the new striping, look along First Street just north of the Library.
Over the past few months, the Parking Taskforce has been meeting with vendors that provide the parking equipment recommended in the plan. The purpose of these meetings was to get a feel for the options available. During these meetings, the importance of purchasing equipment that integrates well with each other was highlighted as no one company provides all of the equipment we will need. To that end, the Parking Task Force recommended we bring back our third party consultants, Rich & Associates, to assist with a request for proposals (RFP). This recommendation was approved by Common Council and the RFP should be completed in the next month with a target of having new parking solutions installed next summer.
What exactly the new parking equipment and systems will be is still to be determined, but we know we need a more efficient system that will improve the convenience of paying for parking and allow the city to enforce parking compliance during the busiest times without adding multiple staff positions. Voluntary compliance by motorists will free up parking spaces when they are needed the most.
I have joked that I now know way more about parking than I ever thought I would, but the most important issues are not always the most glamorous. Until the next exciting update, happy parking!