Downtown business owners and those looking to spend a night out on Turlock's Main Street may think that there is a lack of parking options in the downtown area, but according to TJKM Transportation Consultants, what the city really needs is improved parking management and not another parking lot.
TJKM Transportation Consultants has been working for more than six months to develop a Downtown Parking Plan, and on Tuesday the Turlock City Council and Planning Commission will review the study's findings and recommendations during a special joint meeting.
The consultants have been gathering data and public input on the current parking situation in the downtown area and what they found was a lot of downtown parking was underutilized.
TJKM is recommending the City implement changes in parking time limits, create employee and residential parking permit programs and allocate staff for the enforcement of new parking regulations — and not create any new parking spaces.
One of the issues uncovered during the survey was a lack of familiarity with downtown parking lots. Only 20 percent of those surveyed were fully aware of downtown parking lots, while 50 percent were aware of some lots and 30 percent not familiar at all.
TJKM is recommending the city publicize the lots available through wayfinding signs, information on the City's website and through window stickers for downtown businesses.
When it comes to distance from parking to destination, 32 percent of those surveyed were willing to walk one block for parking, with 46 percent willing to walk two blocks, 16 percent willing to walk three or more blocks and 39 percent said they would keep circling until a spot within the same block is found.
TJKM found that when it comes to trip purpose, 51 percent of those surveyed were downtown for dining/entertainment, 27 percent for shopping/errands and 14 percent for work/business.
Along with the immediate recommendations, TJKM is also suggesting the City reduce the demand for parking by enhancing pedestrian and bicycle facilities infrastructure, promote transit ridership and encourage carpooling.
The special joint Council and Planning Commission meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway, Turlock.