City planners, consultants and residents of Poughkeepsie have put together a draft plan for improving parking in a section of downtown bordered by Mansion, Clover, Church and Clinton Streets.
The draft plan does not include any requests to add more parking spaces in the area. Consultants and planners said their latest research finds there is a parking surplus, not a shortage.
They plan to make a pitch to the Poughkeepsie Common Council that concentrates on issues of safety and convenience.
While parking spots are almost always available, they might require some walking to peoples' destinations once they leave their cars.
"If I park around the corner, what's walking a little bit. Exercise is good," said William Artist, who works at a local non-profit on Main Street.
Artist said he often notices certain lots are full, while nearby lots or garages are nearly empty, which he suspects could cause some inconvenience for tourists. He said if the city can even that out, it is going to make Poughkeepsie "a lot more attractive and a lot more convenient for people to come in and park."
With those exact parking issues in mind, city planners presented a plan at Poughkeepsie's Mid-Hudson Heritage Center before a handful of residents.
"It always comes back to parking," Poughkeepsie Community Development Coordinator Paul Hesse said. "If your parking experience is good, your experience [in Poughkeepsie] might be good, and you'll come back."
Hesse said research done in the last year finds that out of 7,100 parking spots in this area, just half are occupied during the busiest time of the week, Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and noon. As for full lots just down the street from empty lots, Hesse said that can be addressed by adjusting prices, which is commonly known as "dynamic pricing."
"If you've got a parking facility that's being overly utilized, perhaps the pricing needs to go up there, and it needs to lower in some other facilities," Hesse said. "So you're letting the market push people to a different facility."
Hesse said this is one of several ideas an advisory committee is going to suggest to common council in the coming weeks. Other ideas include adding lighting, improving pedestrian access and upgrading pay stations that might not always work properly.