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Friday, April 11, 2014

Consultant: More Downtown Parking Than People Realize

By James Lomuscio

David Lapping, whose company recently completed a town-wide, baseline traffic study, today provided additional insights into his findings about downtown traffic and parking that he presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night. Image
The graphic at left shows downtown Westport parking utilization at weekday midday peak hour (1-2 p.m.) while the right shows it Saturday midday peak hour (2-3 p.m.)  The redder color indicates 95-100 percent occupied. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) RBA Group graphics

The Westporter, a principal of Norwalk-based RBA Group, said that the downtown parking crunch on weekends is not as bad as most people think. In fact, he said, many of the 2,500 downtown parking spaces on both sides of the Saugatuck River are underutilized.

That’s because many drivers do not know some of the private lots are open to the public on weekends. “It’s people’s perceptions,” said Lapping. “It’s all relative, and part of this whole master plan is education.”

RBA, hired by the town to create a master plan of development for the downtown, did the traffic and parking study as Phase I of the master plan. Phase II, which focuses specifically on the downtown, is currently underway to prepare for current and future development.

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