Plano is a city growing exponentially every single year and, with that growth, comes increased traffic.
All those cars need places to park, especially in the historic downtown area. The idea is to make it easier for you to get around and make downtown much more accessible to more people.
"We came up with a list that included not only changing the parking areas, but also looking a travel demand, guidance systems,” Plano Transportation Engineering Manager Lloyd Neal said.
“We looked at working with the merchants to create online systems where people can call up and see what the parking availability is and valet parking was one of the requests for downtown merchants as well."
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This is a multi-phase, multi-year plan that also includes reducing the time you can park in most on-street spaces to a maximum of three hours.
“Our theory is if we have adequate turnover for the businesses the demand for parking will be less in front of those businesses and overall there will be an increase in economic activity,” Neal said.
Other changes include constructing a plan with private parking lots to open them the public after business hours and possibly offering incentives and discounts for using Dallas Area Rapid Transit. There is also a push to move toward parking garages for large developments.
“We are continuing to work to prohibit trucks going through the downtown area; particularly the brick area and damaging that pavement,” Neal said. “As you know, we have a big project to refurbish all those areas.”
This comes after a lengthy study and meetings with downtown business owners about their needs and concerns.
“I think it’s smart. I think it makes sense,” Julie Holmer said. “It won’t hurt. I think it is probably a good thing.”
Holmer is the co-owner of Angela’s at the Crosswalk; a coffee shop and bar on 15th Street.
"We don't want people to feel like they don't want to come down because they can't find a parking spot,” she said. “So, making sure they know about the additional options, the valet parking [and] where the other parking lots are is helpful."
There are almost 4,000 parking spots in the downtown area and 10 percent of those are on the streets. This plan could add even more in the future.
“I think there is the perception that there is the lack of parking down here and I say perception because, especially nights and weekends, there’s a huge parking lot behind City Hall that a lot of people don’t realize is there,” Holmer said.
“A lot of it is just educating our consumers and letting them know where the parking is and also encouraging them to ride the DART because we have a station just a block down the street.”