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If It Makes You Feel Better, You're Not the Only One Who Thinks Downtown Parking Sucks

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Initially, MIG's Downtown Dallas 360 plan was due to the city council right about now; but that was before the price tag jumped to more than $700,000 to cover the cost of parking, and now it's scheduled to be put under City Hall's Christmas tree, can't wait. But late yesterday there were some new docs posted to MIG's site.

We'll get to the latest to-do list shortly, but first I'll direct your attention to the Downtown Dallas Parking Strategic Plan Summary of Stakeholder Interviews, conducted with city officials, parking-lot owners and operators, downtown property owners and architects -- all of whom repeat the same gripes you'll get absolutely gratis from anyone who's ever tried to, ya know, park downtown. Some highlights, or the opposite:

  • While there is an overall surplus in parking, some of the office towers are failing because they do not have enough available parking associated with their leasable space.
  • On-street parking is not convenient for guests and residents because of time restrictions during daytime hours.
  • The creation of a centralized valet has been tried and did not work. To work effectively, the system needs to have one uniform operator.
  • The perception of poor parking conditions is making retail less viable in the core -- the City needs to help retailers understand that parking is available.
  • The lack of retail is a direct result of the overall parking problem. Centralized parking to accommodate several different uses would be publicly supported. Tenants, residents, and downtown visitors have a hard time finding available parking. Consistent wayfinding may be a solution.
  • Charging for parking on weekends is counterproductive to attracting retail business.

On the colorfully illustrated pages that follow are 25 "examples of successful strategies," all of which are a bit, ya know, vague at present. ("Truly integrate parks and parking" -- no, you don't say. "Create 'win-win' solutions through improved development agreements and creative financing strategies" -- revolutionary.) But one thing everyone could agree on: "The group cited Fort Worth's system as a good example of how things could/should work." I would have been happy to have provided this information for nothing.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.