Parking Demand Study
In 2012, the Downtown Development Authority hired Rich and Associates, Inc.,parking consultants and planners from Southfield, Michigan. Rich and Associates came highly recommended. In the business of parking for more than 49 years, the company has completed similar studies for cities around the country. Why do a study in the first place? Well, we needed outside confirmation of what we thought we knew. Economic development and building development and re-development(especially residential) are all strongly tied to accessible, affordable parking. We knew that two areas in downtown were going to encounter parking shortages due to development, but we needed details to best work with the city, parish and other partners in planning for the future.
About the Study
There are some very interesting facts contained in this study, the bulk of which are included in the first few pages in the Overview/Summary. The most challenging findings deal with the very few spaces controlled by the city (only eleven percent when 50 percent is standard). This lack of city-controlled parking hampers economic development efforts as parking can be used as a valuable incentive to developers. Another important finding is that local residents are uncomfortable walking more than 1.5 blocks. This means, especially with residential buildings, efforts will have to be made to locate parking as close as possible.