January 29, 2023

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Tuesday 24th January 2023 by Kali Bramble

Thanks to the city’s Department of Transportation, finding a parking spot in South Congress is about to become a little more predictable.

The City Council Mobility Committee ushered in 2023 with the welcome announcement that a new South Congress Parking & Transportation Management District, if approved, will bring an expanded paid parking program to the area in just a few months. The plan would introduce unmetered metered parking located primarily up and down South Congress Avenue, as well as “hybrid zoning” of shared metered parking and permitted housing areas throughout the surrounding neighborhood.

SoCo’s buyers, guests, workers and neighbors have complained for years about the district’s unreliable parking infrastructure, which has seen little improvement since then Back-in-angle parking project. A parking study The study, conducted in 2019, largely confirmed these frustrations, finding that high demand with low turnover, inconsistent rules, poor signposting and underutilized side street space all contributed to problems.

“Currently, there are some time-limited two-hour zones here and there upon request, but that’s not comprehensive,” said Joseph Al-hajeri, program manager of Mobility Demand. “Resident parking is also inconsistent, with many different time zones, making it difficult for the public to understand where they can and cannot park. We hear many business and trade workers are having a difficult time.”

In response, employees develop a program based on success Park and Transportation Administrative Districts in West Campus, East Cesar Chavez, Mueller and the Colorado River area, each reinvesting nearly half of the proceeds collected into transportation improvements within the district lines. The proposed district would extend from Riverside Drive to Oltorf Street and be bounded by Interstate 35 and the Union Pacific Railroad running north-south east of South Lamar Boulevard.

Within the district, spaces on and around South Congress and around South First would be reserved for hourly paid parking, while the neighborhood streets in between would eliminate unused permit-occupied zones and replace them with spaces available to both paying visitors and permit-operated neighbors and employees . Staffers are also discussing ditching meters in favor of new digital payment software, though they’re yet to announce details.

“The hybrid approach really allows us to stretch the curb in an efficient way,” said Al-hajeri, pointing to a pilot program Woods of Westlake as evidence of its success. “We’ve learned a lot and hope to lead something in South Congress that could introduce employee parking and an affordable on-street parking program rather than outside the station.”

51 percent of the proceeds go to a capital asset fund managed by an advisory team for projects like sidewalks, bike lanes, parking garages and public art under the Department of Transportation’s oversight. An example of such work is currently underway West 25th Streetwhere West Campus PTMD is funding a $2,461,148 sidewalk widening project beginning this June.

Al-hajeri and his team hope to present a final proposal to the Urban Transportation Commission sometime next month, followed by the city council this spring — something for those of us circling the block in the meantime to hold onto.

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