Frisco plans new parking study, creates temporary employee lots
July 27, 2018
The town of Frisco will start a new parking study next month as part of an ongoing effort to address growing concerns about crowding in the downtown area.
While, for most, parking isn't yet considered a major concern, new planned developments in town and an increase in visitors for events has the town looking toward the future, and considering a number of possible improvements to help expand parking options.
"I think over time the town of Frisco has heard bits and pieces here and there about people being concerned about parking," said Joyce Allgaier, Frisco's community development director. "We've had a lot of development proposals and people have legitimate concerns about how downtown is holding up in terms of its parking capacity."
In March the town completed a small survey of 50 individuals — composed of business owners, residents, employees and visitors — which revealed that only about 15 percent of respondents thought that Frisco had a parking problem. Many more believe that parking during peak times and during events is troublesome (48 percent), or that increased parking problems are imminent in the future (28 percent).
As a result, the town council asked staff to begin looking into options to increase parking. A small team including Allgaier, Frisco Police Chief Tom Wickman, town manager Randy Ready and public works director Jeff Goble have been working to address the issue, and provided the town council with a status update at their regular meeting on July 24.
Along with the anticipated study beginning next month, meant to provide insight into parking capacity in peak summer months, the town has already begun to make progress on short-term projects. The town is creating two temporary parking lots for Main Street employees in an attempt to free up space for visitors. Recycled asphalt has already been laid at the B-1 lot near the marina, including striping to accommodate about 50 parking spaces. The same will be done with the Sabatini lot, located at the corner of Granite Street and Third Avenue, in about two weeks.
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"A big issue is something we're addressing with our merchants to help our employees on Main Street not take the premiere parking spaces," said Allgaier. "That's why we're doing these temporary lots with recycled asphalt. It's not a big investment, we can stripe it and sign it reserved for downtown employees to create a culture where we're looking out for them as well."
The town is also planning on removing the parallel parking lines in Frisco, allowing drivers to pack themselves in more efficiently, as well as looking into how to phase in parking enforcement for duration violators. Allgaier noted that any new additions to enforcement would start on a trial basis, and would be more targeted toward people parking in town all day on Main Street to go skiing.
The town has also begun seeking out new potential parking spaces. Allgaier pointed to a couple locations in particular that could immediately create an impact, including a potential 14 spots along the Deming Cabins on Fifth Avenue, 10 spots along the Colorado Workforce Center on Sixth Avenue and 12 along the Granite Street Station on Fourth Avenue.
Decisions won't be made without careful consideration and planning. Allgaier said that the town might employ a strategy called "tactical urbanism," essentially creating temporary parking spots in different places around town to evaluate how much they're used and how convenient they are.
"Tactical urbanism is a way of trying things without making a big investment," said Allgaier. "It's a way of testing urban fixes and taking the next step. The whole idea is to see if it works with our people and our community's behavior."
According to Allgaier, creating new parking options is only half the battle. She said that in order to help alleviate parking concerns, the town also needs to continue their efforts to support infrastructure for a multimodal framework, encouraging people to walk, bike and use public transportation.
Earlier this year Frisco received a $397,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to create two new pieces of sidewalk on Second Avenue and Belford Avenue, effectively making a connection from Main Street on Second Avenue, all the way to the elementary school and recreation path south of town. Among other projects, the town is also interested in building an underpass below Highway 9 from the County Commons to the Peninsula Recreation Area, so that bikers and pedestrians don't need to worry about crossing the highway.
"In our community outreach, there's always huge support for better biking, pedestrian and transit infrastructure in town," said Allgaier. "So by getting these things done we can reinforce that culture, and support what our citizens value. Those are just some of the ways we're continuing to implement good connectivity for bikes and pedestrians."