Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Parking Problems on Board Agenda

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Parking Problems on Board Agenda

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

With yet another reminder that downtown parking is a hot topic, the Downtown Development Authority is gearing up for another go at it.

"It' s back on the table," authority Chairman Bob Rhodes said yesterday at the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission meeting.

"Starting next month, we're going to jump back into downtown parking," Rhodes said. The authority chairman is an automatic member of the commission.

While the authority has long studied parking concerns, Downtown Vision Inc. executive director Terry Lorince told the commission yesterday what she had recently told the authority:

More than 75 percent of downtown businesses say "parking issues" affect their business or customers or clients "very much" or "somewhat." Four of 10 marked the "very much" category.

Downtown Vision, the formal name of the downtown business improvement district, surveyed 1,257 downtown businesses in November and received a 16 percent response rate, which means more than 200 businesses shared their views.

Asked "what things do we need to do for you to stay downtown," almost half, or 49 percent, requested short-term parking. Also, 29 percent said they needed employee parking.

In addition, 79 percent of downtown workers and 32 percent of downtown visitors said in a 2001 survey that parking needed to be improved. It was the No. 1 issue for both workers and visitors asked "what aspects of downtown should be improved."

After the commission meeting, Rhodes said the DDA will resume work on parking at its next meeting, scheduled at 9 a.m. Aug. 20 in the City Hall Annex 15th floor chambers.

Rhodes has been in the driver's seat. He chaired an authority parking task force in 2000 that issued a 38-page report in 2001. …

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