A studied performed by Oregon based Rick Williams Consulting suggested that Bozeman Montana update its plans for managing parking in its downtown district. Parking demand has increased in Downtown Bozeman, the city’s historic district, due to new development and new visitor’s being attracted to the area.
Bozeman will need to develop a strategy for parking along Main Street and the rest of downtown if it wants to keep the area a convenient place to eat, shop and find entertainment.
As Bozeman grows, existing parking lots might be used for infill development. A precedent has already been set in Midtown Bozeman to favor commercial and residential real estate development over maintaining parking spaces. Bozeman Commissioners approved allowing businesses to reduce parking in Midtown, if they increased bike parking and public transit stops. The city has hoped to spur commercial and residential growth in the area. Cutting on parking would allow for bigger, denser buildings to be built.
For Main Street and Downtown Bozeman, the study suggests removing the 2 hour free parking window that is enforced by parking officers, and replacing the system with parking meters. Bozeman had parking meters in the 1980's. The study suggested that adding meters would prevent downtown parkers from staking out a spot for hours on end and would keep people moving quickly, within a set period of time. Meters would also make enforcing parking regulations much easier.
Whether Bozeman decides to move ahead with parking meters is yet to be seen. They would certainly do a lot to help fundraise for the city. As Bozeman grows, staying open to ideas that will keep the city ahead of the curve will always be appreciated and a necessary part of the pains and gains of Bozeman’s recent boom.
Hart Real Estate Solutions