June study results show no parking ‘problem’ in Creston

Web Lead

  • Jul. 23, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Thirty years ago, Canyon Street hardware store owner Wayne Salmond was fond of telling anyone who would listen that “the only parking problem in Creston is that there aren’t enough cars to fill all the spaces.” Early results of a Town of Creston parking study seem to indicate that nothing has changed.

“According to the preliminary data that has been collected so far (month of June only), there doesn’t appear to be a parking ‘problem’ in Creston,” said a report to town council by Marc Miller, who is collecting parking data during the three-month free parking period approved by council earlier this summer. “The rate of compliance with a two-hour parking limit is very high, and when considering the volume of vehicles parked in the metered stalls, the number of vehicles in violation is extremely low.”

“This is good information,” Mayor Ron Toyota said in response to Miller’s presentation at the July 12 regular council meeting. “It will help council make decisions and create a parking strategy that makes sense for Creston.”

Miller, who patrols all metered and time-restricted town parking spots four times a day during his workweek, reported that in June he found that, on average, only 40 per cent of the parking stalls were occupied in June. Of those, 93 per cent were in compliance with the two-hour time restriction.

While patrolling the stalls, Miller notes the licence plate number and location of each vehicle parked and tracks the length of time they remain in the stall. He also leaves a note on each vehicle that is parked beyond the two-hour limit. Out of compliance parkers are predominantly found in the Cook Street parking lot, where a number of downtown employees appear to be taking advantage of the free summer parking.

“I can probably give you the licence plate numbers of 10 or 12 vehicles that are parked all day long on work days,” he said.

Coun. Judy Gadicke pointed out that employees who use the stalls are breaking the spirit of the free parking period, which is designed to encourage locals and tourists to shop locally. There is ample free or monthly parking available close by, building inspector Ross Beddoes said. Town manager Lou Varela added that downtown business owners had been notified about the free parking period and asked to encourage employees not to use the spaces.

Miller’s report says that his conversations with residents during his downtown patrols indicates there is a consensus that parking meters, especially on Canyon Street, should be removed.

Among the comments he has heard are, “Meters are for big cities” and “I would shop more if there were no meters on Canyon Street.”

Miller’s study continues through August and the data collected will be used by the town to form a parking strategy for the coming years.