Council, Consultants Take the Slow Ride Toward Solving Downtown Dallas's Parking Problems

Categories: City Hall
existing parking.jpg
Image from the Downtown Dallas Parking Strategic Plan Slideshow
Currently, off-street parking takes up 27 percent of downtown land.
As we're well aware of the Friends of Unfair Park's thoughts on parking in downtown Dallas, we attended yesterday's meeting of the council's Transportation and Environment Committee, drawn like moths to the Downtown Dallas Parking Strategic Plan presentation on the agenda. And Chris Beynon, the familiar face of MIG and chief proselytizer for the Downtown Dallas 360 plan, presented it with such vigor it felt quite ... important, let's say. Exciting, even.

He presented a "dynamic flexible model" of parking in downtown Dallas with "dynamic pricing" as part of the "action oriented framework" of the 360 plan. Council members' eyes twinkled and teared up at the thought of parking downtown without trying to find a parking garage or scrounging under the mat for a fallen quarter ... or several dollars' worth, even for a brief stay.

"This really is an exciting plan in my opinion," said Linda Koop, the committee's chair. Alas: It was all sizzle. Specifics remain sparse.

"Today we wanted to give you a broad overview," said Theresa O'Donnell, director of Sustainable Development and Construction. The overview consisted of such items as iPhone apps that would help locate vacant spaces, parking with pricing according to time of day and availability and the possibility of waiving parking tickets for first-time offenders.

The study identified that downtown parking has a bigger problem with accessibility than availability. Generally, there is sufficient parking, but utilizing it can be a confusing, cumbersome experience (in case you haven't noticed). Clear signage for available parking is another part of the overall plan. Then there's the long-shot possibility of ditching meters entirely.

The Downtown Dallas Parking Strategic Plan, as you'll no doubt recall, was developed as an outgrowth from the 360 plan as parking became an increasingly more vexing issue at city meetings. "Any vibrant city must have a vibrant downtown, and this is certainly part of that," council member Vonciel Jones Hill said at yesterday's briefing. Beynon stressed the connection between parking development and economic development. He said that if parking needs are met conveniently, people will utilize businesses downtown, and spend more time and money in the area. 

John Crawford, CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc., told Unfair Park Monday afternoon that while it won't all happen tomorrow, it will take place gradually over the course of several years.

"I have to say that many people think that parking is more of an impediment than an amenity to downtown, and that's what we're trying to change," Crawford said. With that, the plan also mentions the possibility of an "18-month initial parking program advertising campaign to change perceptions."

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9 comments
Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

There is no parking problem down town what so ever

Tony
Tony

I can't believe Dallas sometimes:  If you want people to come downtown in a city like Dallas where they have no reason to   visit downtown besides work, you remove as many impediments as possible...especially the easy ones.  No matter how cheap, people see parking as an impediment.  It's easy for the city to give up all meter parking after 6pm and weekends. Then why not just do it.  Don't give me the "people pay for parking on Henderson" crap either.  People pay for parking on Henderson because there are places on Hendeson where people want to go.  Fort Worth saw this years ago when the city first began to redevelop downtown.  The city gave up its meters.  It payed off.  I lived in downtown Dallas for three years and the retail just petered along and out the whole time.  I live in the Plano's Legacy development now.  I know it's faux urban as shit, but I don't pay to park and there's more people around here at night than most any random night in downtown Dallas.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

I just don't understand all the talk about how difficult and expensive it is to park downtown. I find it the easiest, and cheapest places in the country with a city this size. You can park across the street from City Hall all day for less than $2.00.

Lee
Lee

One thing that can be changed immediately is to make meters free after 6:00 PM, which they were until about 4 years ago. It is absurd to charge for street parking at night when the goal is to get more people downtown in the evening.

Lee
Lee

One immediate improvment would be to once again make meters free after 6:00 PM. It is absurd to make people pay to park downtown at night when the goal is to make downtown more accessible. They were free until about 4 years ago.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Fort Worth is already using an iPhone app for parking in Sundance Square, so why does it have to take Dallas "several years" to implement something that can be done tomorrow? I still think Dallas is a "can do" city but sometimes it's more like "can..........................................................do"

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

That big surface parking lot between Ross and Woodall Rodgers just east of the West End and across from the new Perot Museum and Victory Park would make a great location for a new ballpark!

freddie
freddie

Probably Plano people couldn't find them but there are free places to park around Downtown and Fair Park (I know that made you gasp).

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