In May, the Downtown Austin Alliance and consultants Nelson\Nygaard kicked off the Downtown Austin Parking Strategy with a series of public workshops, focus groups and interviews. Over the course of three days, 200+ people, including city officials, downtown businesses, employees, employers, developers, and visitors all shared their concerns and hopes for the future of parking downtown. Some of the major concerns we heard include the following:
- Demand for parking continues to grow, yet we are losing on-street and surface parking for other uses.
- Lack of adequate/convenient parking is an ongoing challenge for many downtown office employers, employees, businesses, and leasing agents.
- More options are needed for downtown employees and visitors who can not access/afford parking downtown.
- Finding available parking is challenging for downtown visitors. Many use on-street parking because they do not know how to access garage parking.
- There are varied opinions on the price of parking. Some feel it’s too high, others believe it should be higher.
In advance of the meetings, consultants Nelson\Nygaard conducted a preliminary inventory of parking within the study area. Their preliminary inventory revealed 44,000 parking spaces in the study area, 87% of which is off-street.
Over the summer, Nelson\Nygaard will be refining the parking inventory with field verifications. When UT is back in session in the fall, they will conduct occupancy counts to determine how the existing parking is being used at different times of the day and week. This data, along with their projections of future parking demand, will inform strategies for downtown parking, access and circulation.
When developing strategies, we are looking to make improvements to the existing parking situation, as well as looking ahead to plan for the future. Knowing that our parking capacity is limited by peak hour roadway capacity, we will also need to develop more options for people to access downtown in the future, thus we are coordinating our effort with Capital Metro’s Project Connect Central Corridor project and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.
We anticipate the inventory to be available and presented to the public in late fall, along with some preliminary strategies for consideration. For more information, visit the project webpage, or contact Melissa Barry.