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Not enough parking

Cars fill spots along Second Street on a Thursday afternoon. After a study on downtown parking capacity, the city will look at the recommendations. Rebecca Mariscal / Rivertown Multimedia

After hearing a presentation on possible downtown parking solutions in March, the Hudson Common Council will bring the topic back to the table at future meetings.

The parking study looked at the downtown area.

Commissioned by the city and the Hudson Chamber of Commerce, Rich and Associates' study covered almost 2,000 parking spaces in an area from Orange Street to the marina and from the St. Croix River up to Fourth Street.

Parking spot occupancy

The study found that peak occupancy occurred 7-9 p.m. on Friday, July 22, the study day. During this time, just under 70 percent of total observed spaces were occupied. Some areas including Second and First streets between Walnut and Vine streets saw occupancy of 85 to 100 percent. Overall the study found six blocks had a deficit of up to 170 parking spots compared to the demand of the businesses in the area during peak hours.

Future development plans for restaurants and shops could bring the deficit up to 300 spots in the core block of downtown at Second and Vine streets.

Projected occupancy

The study concluded the available parking is insufficient to support continued growth.

The main recommendation of the study is a parking garage, but the council will first look at other, smaller recommendations.

Parking garage options

Cost: $8.7 million

The Phipps Lot

1. The Phipps Lot — First and Locust streets

• 60 spots per floor

• 400 cars

The North Lot

2. The North Lot — Second and Locust streets

• 60 spots per floor

• 400 cars

The Williams Lot

3. Williams Lot — behind the Fire hall

• 139 spots per floor if extended over public safety building

• 400 cars

Parking revenue in the last five years

Funding: In the last six years, parking revenue has brought in $150,000 to $200,000 from meters, tickets and permits. Parking fee at garage, but other funding would be needed. Additional funding could come from changes to parking procedures.

Other options

1. Meters

• Repair and replace old meters: replace 230

• Change spots to paid parking: add 235 on-street paid meters

Currently about 360 of the total 1,100 public parking spaces generate income, about 31 percent.

Cost to replace and add meters would be about $244,000 with per meter cost of $525.

The city could look at multi-space pay stations, which should cost less than installing additional meters and have lower operating costs.

2. Paid parking lots

• Convert the Library, Beach House, North and Williams lots to paid parking. This would add an additional 140 paid spots

These lots could use multi-space pay stations.

• Along with meters, these lots would add an additional $100,000 to the city's parking revenue

3. Increase cost of permits

• from $100 to $360 a year

• limit locations where permits can be used

4. Increase to parking fines

• $7 to $10, double after 10 days and then again after 30 days

5. Change enforcement

• Random schedule

• Extend to 8 p.m.

• Electronic chalking is a hand-held device that would run a license plate number to see if the vehicle has received a citation in the last specified number of days. If not, that vehicle would get a courtesy ticket, which does not have a fine. This technology costs between $15,000 and $30,000.

6. Stall marking for all street parking

Allows for more consistent parking and maximizes the number of spaces that can be provided on-street.

7. Zoning requirements

• Require new construction to fulfill parking equal to 50 percent of the building's requirement.

• If parking cannot be provided, a fee should increase from the city's current $2,500 per space to a range of $6,500 to $9,700. The study says this is a range of one-third to half the cost to provide structured parking, currently estimated at $19,500 per space.

Miscellaneous recommendations:

• Make Phipps lots metered rather than permit.

• Eliminate four EMS parking spaces at City Hall and move them to the striped area next to the Public Safety Building.

• Make short-term parking spaces consistent, either 10 or 15 minutes.

• Develop a policy on valet parking. The city should require businesses to specify hours of operation, number of on-street spaces that can be used and where the valet vehicles will be parked. Use of city lots would require payment of associated parking fees.

• Begin negotiations with businesses for use of outlying parking spots for boat trailers. Ridesharing services could be used to park vehicles in negotiated lots and then get a ride to downtown.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

(715) 426-1066