Parking Expert Gives Suggestions for C.R. Parking Problems

By Justin Foss, Reporter

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By Justin Foss

CEDAR RAPIDS - Let's face it, there are few things that evoke the same emotions as not being able to find a parking spot.

"It was bad before, and its worse now," said Cynthia Sueppel. "Cause if anybody wants to come downtown, I seriously don't know where they park."

In Cedar Rapids, some park on the street, others park in the ramps. And its the street spots that parking expert Dennis Burns says can really make or break a downtown. He says that's evident after a study in Colorado.

"Just five percent of the employees taking up short term on street parking, made a two million dollar a year impact on downtown," said Burns.

Burns' company studies parking systems and says the key to helping downtown is having high turnover in those high demand spots.

KCRG-TV9 spent 30 minutes looking for turnover during lunch. What we found were flood repair workers eating in their trucks, meters that people didn't pay attention to and some spots where meters have been removed.

While the city opened up the spots to make it easier to rebuild...it's not helping everybody.

"I never ask people to meet me for lunch downtown cause there is no place for them to park," said Sueppel.

Despite the complaints, Burns says the current system isn't bad in the short term, but certainly not ideal for the future.

Burns also says some options to fix the parking problems are putting in more meters or adding incentives to park in ramps, like offering the first hour for free.

Burns spoke at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Monday night.

Email Justin Foss at Justin.Foss@kcrg.com

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