The annual Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale is set for Thursday, which means you should plan on temperatures being approximately equal to those on the surface of the sun, and you should start developing your parking strategy now. (Note: Driving down Massachusetts Street at 1 mile per hour while looking for a space is not a great strategy, but is an effective way to organize the annual Downtown Lawrence Parade of Horn Honkers.)
Soon, though, motorists may have to rethink their downtown parking strategy for every day of the year. As City Hall reporter Rochelle Valverde reported, City Commissioners at their meeting this evening will receive a new parking study that will require big changes to parking downtown, if commissioners decide to follow the plan.
I know how much people like to talk about parking, so I decided to use the report to highlight five changes that may be in store for downtown parkers.
First, though, here’s one finding from the report to keep in mind: Downtown parking really isn’t that hard to find. “There is not currently a shortage of parking in the whole of downtown, however localized shortages do exist,” the report from the consulting firm Desman Design Management found. In other words, you can’t always park in front of the store you want to go to.
The report also found that, despite predictions to the contrary, the trend of new residential development in downtown isn’t creating major parking problems. “The impact of future downtown development on parking appears to be minimal over the next 10 years.”
What the report did find is that parking in Downtown Lawrence is cheap, not particularly technology-friendly, and sometimes is managed in a way that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The report makes a lot of recommendations. Commissioners likely will approve the report at their meeting tonight, but that doesn’t mean the recommendations automatically will be implemented. Commissioners will have to give more approval — and in…