Top 10 2017: Parking discussions will continue into new year
Editor's note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here.
Spring, summer, winter or fall, the streets of Hudson are filled with cars during its peak hours—especially on Friday evenings.
To address the problem, the city along with the Hudson Chamber of Commerce conducted a parking study with Rich and Associates in 2016. The study looked at occupancy rates of the about 2,000 parking spots in the downtown area, ranging from Orange Street to the marina and the St. Croix River up to Fourth Street.
The results from the study, presented to the Hudson Common Council in March 2017, showed that the current parking set up was not sufficient for the downtown traffic. During peak hours between 70 and 100 percent of spots were filled.
"We need to look at some additional parking," said Dave Burr of Rich and Associates.
Over the course of the year the council has begun to implement some of the recommendations from the study.
In June the council approved a change in ordinance that requires new construction to include off-street parking, or pay a price. The parking must meet at least half of the building's needs, or the city will charge the developer a fee of $8,500 per parking stall. The fee nearly triples the previous ones.
In August about 50 spaces were approved to be painted, based off the recommendation from the study. Burr said painted stalls ensure that all the space is used sufficiently.
In November a request for proposals was approved for multi-space pay stations and other equipment to improve parking in the city. The multi-space pay stations would be similar to those used in the Cities, with one station covering multiple spaces. The requests are being done through Rich and Associates, and will be presented to the council in January. Installation would be set for this summer pending city approval, Chamber President Blake Fry said.
The stations will work to keep parking and traffic circulation, as well as increasing revenue for the city, Fry told the council in June.
Other recommendations from the study will be discussed by the council in the first half of 2018, including the main recommendation — a parking garage.
Burr told the council in March that surface lots would normally be the ideal option, but the city does not have any options for those.
Potential sites for a garage include the Phipps Lot, the North Lot and the William Lot. Each location would add an additional 60-some spots, and the Williams Lot could add more if extended over the public safety building.
The cost of building a garage would be about $8.7 million. It would bring in revenue by charging for parking, but would not fully offset the cost of building it. Burr said the garage would solve the parking deficits and be a long-term solution.
Aside from the garage, other options to be considered are a change to enforcement hours and days and the possibility of additional paid parking spaces in existing areas.