Downtown Parking Solutions Being Examined

Two-hour parking issues in downtown Warsaw have long plagued business owners who want to see the city come up with a solution that is more customer friendly. Today, Warsaw Traffic Commission members once again discussed the matter.

For several months the commission has been studying the parking dilemma in an effort to ease concerns that much of the downtown parking is occupied by employees of downtown businesses. A subcommittee of the commission presented its preliminary findings and proposals today, which included eliminating timed parking in areas bordering the main areas of the downtown.

Currently, there are approximately 160 two-hour on-street parking spaces. The committee is proposing opening approximately 40 of those spaces to unlimited parking. Those parking spaces would be along the north side of Center Street from Lake Street west to the alley, the south side of Market Street from Lake to Buffalo streets, the west side of Lake Street from Center to Market streets, the east side of Lake Street from the alley to Market Street, and along the east side of Buffalo Street from Market Street south to the city parking lot.

“Downtowns are becoming more popular, which is good,” said Warsaw Assistant City Planner Tim Dombrosky. “It’s a good problem to have.”

Business owners, however, are frustrated with downtown employees occupying the two-hour spaces and simply moving their vehicles throughout the day. They have asked for more options for employee parking to free up spaces closer to their businesses.

Lt. Kip Shuter of the Warsaw Police Department and a member of the commission, also said a closer look needs to be taken at areas currently marked as “no parking” areas. The on-street subcommittee noted an additional 20 to 30 parking spaces could probably be gained by re-striping some areas and eliminating areas where yellow pain deems parking prohibited.

One of the recommendations made earlier by Warsaw City Planner Jeremy Skinner, is for the city to get out of the leasing business. The city currently leases spaces in at least two downtown parking lots. Skinner was not at today’s meeting, however, so it was noted that his ideas – which also included an exchange program – would need to be presented at the next Warsaw Traffic Commission meeting, which is slated for April 3.

Commission member Mike Klondaris said he still likes the idea of parking meters, but Shuter said those also bring problems.

Resolutions for people who reside in apartments located above downtown businesses were addressed by the subcommittee, but they opted to fall back on a city ordinance which already requires landlords to provide parking. The committee noted it does not want vehicles parked on the streets for long periods of time, which not only occupies customer parking, but also interferes with such things as snow removal efforts.

Warsaw Traffic Commission will continue to evaluate the suggestions provided by the subcommittee and will meet again on Wednesday, April 3. The meetings begin at 1 p.m., but the location will be announced at a later date.

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