Fan District residents vent to city officials at meeting for parking

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Fan District residents gave city leaders their thoughts on how to solve the city's parking problem at a meeting Wednesday night.

Though they heard plenty of complaints about the city's parking problem, city leaders say adding more parking spaces may not be the best solution.

"Every square foot counts, and every place we put for a car is something else that doesn't get there," said Mark Olinger, Director of Planning and Development Review. "That activity is more valuable to us than parking, generally speaking, but we have to accommodate."

Olinger says there are more than 5,000 parking spaces available in the Fan District, but most of it is ineffectively used. Attempting to create new spaces in a crowded city can get expensive - up to $25,000 per space, according to the study.

That's why the city hired a group to study the available parking in the Fan District, to assess future demand and create recommendations as the city expands.

"For the last eight years over 25,000 new people have come into the city," said Olinger. "We need to figure out how we continue to build that momentum... It's a good problem to have."

But that problem still needs a solution. As the Fan District continues to grow, that means more people competing for those 5,000 spaces, and those spaces go quick.

Olinger says the answer really isn't adding supply - it's about reducing demand.

"What are the opportunities for us to not only think about parking, but think about how we get some of the people to walk or bike or take the demand for parking is a little less, over time," said Olinger.

The city has three more meetings planned:

June 14: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Main Library, E. Franklin St.
June 14: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Plant Zero, 0 E. 4th Street
June 16: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at DMV, 2300 W. Broad St

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