New study to examine downtown Austin parking

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new study aims to improve parking in downtown Austin and help business in center city.

“It’s time to look ahead and that’s why a study like this has never been undertaken for Austin,” said Dewitt Peart, President/CEO of the Downtown Austin Alliance. “That’s what’s unique about this is looking forward and help solve the problems that we foresee coming down the road.

The Downtown Austin Alliance is seeking proposals for the study, which will examine downtown’s parking supply and demand now and in the future. The DAA released its request for proposal Friday to national and international firms. Its goal is to get information and create strategy for managing parking downtown.

Uptick in parking fines accompanies downtown boom

“So we’re looking at development patterns and what we expect development to happen downtown,” said Peart. “It’s an analysis about where the supply is and where the demand will be coming from.”

Right now, the question of if there is enough parking downtown is a difficult one for experts to answer with solid numbers.

“The last study that was done downtown was done down in 2009,” said Steve Grassfield, parking enterprise manager with the City of Austin in a previous KXAN Interview. “All you have to do is look at the crains downtown and see, there’s been just a ton of building in the last six years.”

However, as more people come downtown and Austin increases the number of on-street parking spaces, more drivers are getting parking tickets. Space in parking garages is also in demand.

“It’s a nightmare. It’s just been really crazy,” said Lopa Banerjee, who works downtown. “The prices (for a monthly garage space) have increased nearly 50 percent since I first started parking downtown not even two years ago.”

Proposals for the study are due by mid-January. Peart, with the Downtown Austin Alliance, expects to see results from study at the end of 2016.

“[We want the study to] give us a path forward for how can we better manage parking downtown,” said Peart. “So, it’s going to be probably a series of recommendations on what strategies can be put in place and what technologies are out there that we can use to better manage parking.”

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