Study: Residents have trouble finding parking in Downtown Memphis

Downtown parking study shows residents have trouble finding spots

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A study of Memphis’ Downtown parking shows people think parking is hard to find. That same study also proved that might not be the case.

“Parking is a priority to Memphians,” said Shanea McKinney, Downtown Parking Authority chairwoman.

While it's a priority, there's also a perception when it comes to Downtown parking.

As part of a Downtown parking study, a majority of the 500 people who took the public survey believe parking is hard to find and expensive.

So, the study sought to find if that perception is true.

“We didn't know if it would say, ‘yes. you're grossly under parked for a city your size.’ So, we're happy to know we are not in that situation,” said Jennifer Oswalt, Downtown Memphis Commission president.

Not only did the study find there is enough parking in Downtown Memphis, it also found the public spots are being underutilized.

Of the more than 70,000 downtown parking spots, 39 percent are for public use and at peak hours those public spots are only 35 percent occupied.

However, an outside consultant who did the study told Downtown Memphis Commission and Downtown Parking Authority they need to enhance and improve the parking that already exists.

Like improving maintenance in some garages, where surveyors said they feel unsafe.

“We've taken on an initiative to take on lighting, in particular, in our building, and to make sure there is requisite security with the management folks, so everyone feels safe,” said McKinney.

The study also suggested improving signage and roll out technology to help drivers know where they can park. But it also said to plan for more parking as growth happens.

DMC President Jennifer Oswalt says it wouldn't be a huge overhaul.

“There’s no silver bullet. We’re going to move the easiest levers that we can to make sure everyone has safe, adequate parking for people who are here a lot, and free up some spaces for those just coming in for meetings or other visitations,” said Oswalt.

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