Plenty of parking, but not where it’s neededThere’s plenty of parking available in downtown Fargo, but it’s not where people want it, a new parking study unveiled Friday shows. Fargo planning officials recently finished updating downtown parking studies done in 2003 and 2007.
By: By Kristen M. Daum, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — There’s plenty of parking available in downtown Fargo, but it’s not where people want it, a new parking study unveiled Friday shows.
Fargo planning officials recently finished updating downtown parking studies done in 2003 and 2007.
The 2011 study revealed the demand for parking in popular areas of the downtown continues to grow. Results will help Fargo parking officials plan for the future.
The study area included 36 blocks bounded by 10th Street North, First Avenue South, Fifth Avenue North and Second Street North.
Inventory counts show there are 7,670 parking spots in that area.
Of those, 1,622 spaces are on the street, and 2,144 are in paid surface lots available to the public. The remaining 3,904 spots are for private use, predominantly for downtown businesses.
Long-term projections show there are 502 more parking spots than actually needed to meet the demand. Senior Planner Bob Stein cautioned that result is deceiving, especially given the large study area.
“There is a lot of parking; it’s just not all available where people want it,” he said.
Two corridors, in particular, attract a high demand for parking: Broadway, and the areas near North Dakota State University’s downtown campus near Roberts Street and Second Avenue North.
Areas on the fringe of downtown have an excess of parking because people tend to park closer to their destinations, Stein said.
The study recommends considering a new parking structure either off Roberts Street and Second Avenue North or in the U.S. Bank plaza off Broadway, which is already poised for major redevelopment in the coming years.
Before Fargo planning officials shell out potentially millions for a new ramp, they’re reviewing other ways to encourage drivers to change parking habits and maximize the current spaces.
Options include changing parking fees and time limits to encourage drivers to use available spots.
“The perception is there’s no place to park, but half of the (total) spaces are empty,” Planning Director Jim Gilmour said. “It doesn’t have to mean building a structure. We should explore these other options first.”
Kristen Daum is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.