Growing Demand for Parking in Historic Downtown Plano

As historic downtown Plano evolves into an arts district, there is growing demand for parking in the popular neighborhood.

"It sometimes becomes a challenge. It's a little more challenging today than it was six years ago," said Mona Crider, co-owner of LaFoofaraw. "The reality is we're living in the big city and Plano is growing. The growth is so big, like with any city, you have to drive a little bit to find a spot."

Crider, president at the Historic Downtown Plano Association, said there are more than 700 parking spots available surrounding the neighborhood. While finding a parking spot along 15th Street has its challenges, Crider said parking lots a block or two away provides ample of free parking.

"If you have lived in Dallas for a long time, it almost seems like any where you go there tends to be a little more of a parking issue because we have so many people moving in," said Crider. "I think we're used to a sleepy little town from 10 to 20 years ago. That's no longer what we're living in today."

The city of Plano and the Historic Downtown Plano Association are working together to find better ways to tell visitors where free parking is available. There's a possibility that parking time limits will be reduced from four hours to three hours to help alleviate congestion during peak times.

"Starting at 1 p.m. to about 4 p.m. parking is tough," said Lloyd Neal, Plano's transportation engineering manager. "In the short term, we're looking at traffic signal improvements and crosswalk markings. In the long term, we're looking at the possibility of parking structures and increased parking zone enforcement."

Neal also said Plano is looking at a concept called shared parking. When businesses are in "off hours," owners would lease parking spaces for downtown, residential use.

A parking study conducted by Walker Parking Consultants, an independent firm the city hired, found underused parking lots near 15th Street. The study encouraged better signage in the area.

Neal said there are 1,145 spaces in the historic downtown district.

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