How Arlington Heights is hoping to make downtown parking better

 
 
Updated 10/23/2018 6:23 AM
hello
  • Arlington Heights officials plan to install an 18-foot vertical sign on the side of the Vail garage to better identify it as a place for downtown visitors to park. That is among the recommendations of a consultant who conducted a downtown parking study.

    Arlington Heights officials plan to install an 18-foot vertical sign on the side of the Vail garage to better identify it as a place for downtown visitors to park. That is among the recommendations of a consultant who conducted a downtown parking study. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights officials recommend spending some $420,000 to help ease parking congestion in the village's downtown, from installation of clearer signage to electronic pay stations, among other solutions discussed Monday.

The village board Monday night authorized the village staff to develop an implementation plan for at least some of the recommendations detailed by a parking consultant and find a way to pay for the upgrades. At least a portion could come from the village's $3 million parking fund reserve, officials said.

A $75,000 village-commissioned parking study, conducted by Rich & Associates, tracked downtown parking demand from May to July 2018 that showed usage near restaurants and businesses peaked during evening times -- and is only projected to increase with the opening last week of music venue Hey Nonny and possible future development of the vacant Block 425.

The 134-page report doesn't suggest building space for more parking but better using existing space, including the municipal garage at village hall, surface Lot S west of the library, and Lot A along the railroad tracks.

"We have a very successful downtown, and that's reflected in the parking demand," said Bill Enright, the village's assistant director of planning and community development, during a discussion Monday night with village trustees. "If we use our existing parking more efficiently, we should be OK, but we have to articulate where the parking is."

To that end, the village is developing preliminary designs for 18-foot vertical signs that would be affixed to the sides of village garages or at the entrance to surface lots that say "Parking." In all, the signs are estimated to cost $128,000.

Also proposed is installation of a $100,000 parking availability guidance system that would tell drivers -- via an electronic sign at the entrance to a garage -- how many spaces are available on each level. The system works with a series of cameras at every ramp and is less costly than one that shows if individual stalls are available with red and green lights.

The consultant also recommends better, clearer signage within garages to indicate which levels and spaces permit various types of parking, whether it be commuter, residential or three-hour free parking.

Village staff members are looking at the installation of electronic pay stations for pay lots at a cost of $170,000, eliminating the antiquated system of stuffing a bill into a slot. There's also been discussion of being able to pay via a phone app, officials said.

The consultant also suggests the village reach out to private businesses, particularly banks, to use their lots as public parking after hours.

One of the study's 31 recommendations in particular -- charging $2 per hour for on-street parking in the evening -- isn't being considered right now, Enright said.

Some of the upgrades could be implemented as early as next year.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.