City conducting extensive downtown parking survey

Gilroy
– Shoppers along Monterey Street may notice people jotting down
notes by their cars in coming weeks, but the note-takers are not
handing out tickets or recording license plate numbers. They are
collecting information as part of the city’s downtown specific
plan, a project to craft new development
and zoning guidelines for the area.
Gilroy – Shoppers along Monterey Street may notice people jotting down notes by their cars in coming weeks, but the note-takers are not handing out tickets or recording license plate numbers. They are collecting information as part of the city’s downtown specific plan, a project to craft new development and zoning guidelines for the area.

“As part of our downtown specific plan, we are conducting a broad-based traffic analysis which includes traffic – of course – parking, bicycles, pedestrians,” Bill Faus, the city’s planning division manager, explained. “It’s a wide-reaching study.”

A thorough review of parking is vital, Faus said, as the city explores new commercial and residential uses downtown.

“We’re not only looking at parking availability, but use,” Faus said. “Do they sit empty all day? Are they packed at certain times of day?”

The parking study comes as the much-anticipated downtown revitalization gets under way with construction of a three-story building at Monterey and Lewis streets. The project combines street-level retail and above-ground apartments. In the next few years, more than 20 new housing and commercial projects will crop up in the area, including a major project at the old Cannery site off Lewis Street. That project, organized by nonprofit South County Housing, will bring 200 residential apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space to the downtown area.

“It is important to look at the land uses proposed in terms of the commercial component, residential component, and to look at the parking we have within these areas,” Faus said.

Hexagon Transportation Consultants will conduct the parking survey over the course of the next 30 days or so, according to Faus. He said consultants plan to inspect the area at various times each day of the week.

The task force charged with developing the downtown specific plan has already discussed a number of parking ideas, including the addition of timed or metered parking, although no final decisions have been made.

“The study will move us in the direction of a dialogue that will tell us we have a parking deficiency in some area, and that will move us into an area of possibly augmenting our current parking,” Faus predicted.

Officials expect to complete the downtown specific plan by the end of the summer.

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