Columbia Borough building

When: Columbia Borough Council work session, Aug. 6.

What happened: Council discussed how to move forward after a parking study by Walker Consultants showed there is adequate parking in the borough, including the downtown area, but that drivers find a significant number of the parking spaces challenging to locate.

Study results: The parking study identified approximately 6,543 parking spaces in four zones: the Downtown Business District, the Historic District, the Riverfront District and the Residential District. The study showed that during peak parking time at 8 p.m. on weekdays, on-street parking was approximately 58% occupied, while public off-street parking was only 5% occupied. The study projected that there will not be a parking shortage over the next 10 years, and although more popular areas might fill up, parking will usually be available within one to two blocks.

Quotable: “We don’t have a parking problem; we have a parking perception problem,” said council member Eric Kauffman.

Parking improvement ideas: Council’s ideas for improving parking largely centered on wayfinding through better signage directing people to public parking. Another popular idea was adopting a cellphone app that could allow drivers to locate available parking and pay the meter on their phones.

Possible new public parking opportunities: Although Walker Consultants predicted an overall parking surplus over the next 10 years, its report suggested four locations where public lots could be developed, purchased or leased. These included the Fourth and Locust Street parking lot; the Burning Bridge Antiques Market parking lot on Walnut and North Third Street; the Our Lady of the Angels school lot on the 400 block of Cherry Street and the St. Peter Roman Catholic Church lot between J Avenue and Union Street.

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