Striving to increase livability in Bend, Bend City Councilors unanimously approved a parking study that will begin next month.
“The study is intended to improve and update existing and anticipated parking issues and polices for areas of the city which should have positive impacts concerning the business community,” the issue summary from the City of Bend states.
The work will be done in the following three phases:
Phase 1 – Downtown Parking Study
Phase 2 – Citywide Parking Study
Phase 3 – 14th and Galveston corridors
The study and consulting services are estimated to cost $555,250. The first phase is scheduled to begin in October, while phases two and three are expected to start in February. All three phases are estimated to be complete by February 2017.
Bend City Councilor Sally Russell said it’s important the study takes into account when the population in the city is at its peak due to tourism. She said the previous parking study gathered data during the offseason.
The plan is to do fall, spring and summer data collection, said Carolyn Eagan, economic development director for the City of Bend.
“I think it will ground us in what’s going on,” Eagan told councilors. “The data collection will help us understand what are the residential neighborhoods being drastically impacted.”
The city has an obligation, as part of the statewide planning laws, to look at how it can reduce parking in the city by 10 percent per capita over a 20-year planning period.
According to the issue summary, “The Downtown Parking Plan that is the basis for City parking policy and management practices has not been updated for nine years. Since the time of the original plan (2002), downtown commercial square footage has increased an estimated 50 percent and the downtown core has expanded outward.”
Each phase of the project will have a public outreach strategy and process.
“The engagement and public acceptance of changes to downtown parking… it’s a big deal,” Eagan said
A Downtown Parking Stakeholder Group was being created for the first phase of the project. The goal for the 13-person stakeholder group, which includes business owners, employees and at-large community members, is to make sure all the ways parking could possibly be thought about are on the table so changes can be made at the beginning of the process, Eagan said.
“We’re calling it the downtown parking study, but it is an access, circulation, multi-modal parking plan,” she said. “We’re really trying to make sure we’re looking not just at where people park, but how they move around downtown and how they can access our central business district.”