Thursday, September 17, 2009

Parking Census in the Village of Watkins Glen

A parking census is the first step in addressing parking concerns. Its primary purpose is to quantify current parking conditions in a specified study area and to objectively determine whether parking congestion or a “parking problem” exists. If parking congestion is found, the parking census will show where and to what extent in the study area it exists.
In this parking census it was concluded that there is enough parking in the study area. There may be “hot spots” in particular areas of the Village, but parking is available within only half-a-block from these hot spots. Parking in the study area is easy to access and easy to use. Parking is also within walking distance of Franklin Street, the Village’s main street.
In order to alleviate any current parking issues, there are a number of things that can be done. To begin with, signage indicating where additional parking is available may be beneficial. For instance, signage directing people to the county off street parking lot located at the waterfront, which typically has very low occupancy rates, could help to shift congestion from the main business district and at the same time, utilize well located parking. The signage should be similar in theme to the rest of the village. Also, employees could be asked to park further from where they work, allowing more space for patrons. Furthermore, painting parking lines, like the ones on 1st Street, could be helpful to guide people to parking as well as help direct people on how to park. Creating a more inviting space, away from the downtown, by introducing lighting and streetscaping could also be effective in directing people to park farther away, possibly lessening congestion. In addition to these improvements, the Village could improve existing parking by re/paving portions of the existing parking area, which would in turn provide more quality parking. Lastly, the Village, should maintain consistent enforcement of parking time limits, this could help to reduce parking congestion and as an added benefit, increase its revenues.

This study identified parking spaces, determined occupancy rates and concluded that a parking problem does not necessarily exist in the study area. Although there are some hot spots in the study area, there does not seem to be a lack of supply to meet the current conditions. It is also reasonable to assume that there will be enough supply to meet demand as the Village continues to grow. As new businesses come into the Village, the rest of the unused parking in the study area will begin to be utilized. This is especially likely if signage, painted parking lines, streetscaping and appropriate lighting is used along with improvements to existing parking areas and consistent enforcement efforts. The extent to which the Village can grow without needing extra parking facilities is beyond the scope of this study. Nonetheless, this study shows that there is a reasonable amount of parking to meet current demand and that the study area can accommodate future growth.
Parking Study Area

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