Wednesday, March 7, 2018

City and KCPD work toward master plan for downtown parking

The good news: Downtown Kansas City is growing and thriving. More and more people are choosing to live, work and play in our city center. This has led to an influx of residential units, businesses, entertainment options and more. But as more people come downtown, most bring their cars with them. More people equal more cars, and we’re working with City government to accommodate increased parking needs.

We’ve heard from several downtown business owners recently that their customers can’t park at their businesses because downtown residents have overstayed their time in parking spots. We’ve heard from downtown residents that people attending special events have taken up their parking spots. And we’ve heard from people attending downtown events that they can’t find a place to park. We’re working with the City on a master plan for downtown parking. One of the recommendations is the hiring of 10 additional KCPD parking control officers to increase enforcement.

At present, we have just four parking control officers and two supervisors for the entire city. They have worked their tails off to keep up with complaints, special events and more, but there just weren’t enough of them to keep up with growing downtown parking needs. These 10 new parking control officers will concentrate on downtown, only. We still are hiring for these positions, and we encourage Kansas City residents interested in serving their city in this capacity to apply.

To keep parking spaces turning over for everyone who needs them downtown, we will be stepping enforcement up considerably with the help of the new parking control officers. We’re not going to start handing out thousands more parking tickets overnight, though. We’ll begin a period of public education this month, which will include issuing a lot of warnings in lieu of tickets. This will allow people to develop a downtown parking plan that will be fair to everyone and allow businesses to be successful.

One notable change: effective March 1, off-street public parking lots in the City Market turned into paid lots at a rate of $1 an hour. The City Market Square lot will continue to be free and available for short-term parking, but the time limit has been reduced from three hours to two hours.

The renewed vibrancy of our downtown is exciting, but it comes with some growing pains. We look forward to working with everyone to make parking accessible to as many people as possible in the heart of KC.

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