Downtown parking meters, parking enforcement officers, voluntary employee parking policies — these are a few of the strategies the City of Turlock could take to implement the Downtown Parking Plan adopted by the Turlock City Council in August.
Before any of these solutions are put in place, however, the City of Turlock wants to know what the citizens and visitors of Turlock would like to see in the downtown area.
"We've got the input from the consultants and experts, now it's about what Turlock, downtown Turlock, our community and citizens want to see happen," said Senior Planner Katie Quintero.
The City of Turlock is holding a public workshop to get input from the community as implementation of the Downtown Parking Plan moves forward. The workshop will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Public Safety Facility located at 244 N. Broadway. A presentation will be given on existing public parking and the steps the City is taking to improve parking in downtown. The City is also looking for feedback from the community on potential solutions.
The Downtown Parking Management Plan includes seven action items, along with implementation measures for each.
The first action item is to provide education and outreach on available parking options — the community outreach meeting is part of this —and the creation of a page on the City of Turlock website providing the community with information and maps of all public parking lots within downtown. The City will also work with the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association and businesses downtown to add parking information and maps to local websites. The City will also create a funding proposal for the design, purchase, and installation of parking wayfinding signs throughout downtown to better increase the community’s knowledge of available parking.
During the data gathering for the Downtown Parking Plan, the most surprising finding to a number of the City Council was that there are 3,800 parking spaces in downtown Turlock, however, only 35 percent of those are utilized. TJKM Transportation Consultants, which put together the downtown plan, found that the people they surveyed were reluctant to utilize parking spaces one or two blocks off of the main retail corridor along Main Street due to a perception that walking that far would be unsafe or difficult due to poor sidewalk conditions or lack of lighting.
The second action item looks to improve walkability, access, and security within the downtown area by evaluating the sidewalks, streetlights, wheelchair ramps, parking lot lighting and crosswalk conditions within Zone 1 – the core downtown area – to identify and prioritize needed improvements.
The third action item is to explore enforcement of the time limited parking, including evaluating, removing or replacing time limit parking signs downtown, as well as developing a public information campaign about the location of public parking lots and to provide warning notices regarding parking time limits.
The fourth action item is to evaluate an employee parking permit program.
"Over the last couple of months we've seen more businesses and offices come downtown, which is great, but also causes increased parking issues in downtown," said Quintero.
The fifth action item is to help reduce travel demand for single-occupied private vehicles by improving bike-friendly facilities, such as bike lanes and bike racks and exploring valet options for private businesses and public parking lots as requested by local businesses.
Action item number six will identify funding options to construct new parking facilities by looking at grant opportunities and City funding sources, as well as evaluating parking in-lieu fee programs that have been adopted by other cities.
The seventh and final action item calls for the Downtown Parking Management Plan and Implementation Plan to be regularly evaluated and updated. In three years, TJKM will review the plan and it will be reviewed once every five years thereafter in order to evaluate parking demand and to stay up-to-date on current technology and trends.
Additional information on the Downtown Parking Plan can be found on the City of Turlock website at http://ci.turlock.ca.us/