Danielle Stewart for Mayor of Beckley
Position Paper #10: Downtown Parking
“To have a healthy culture, you have to have stable health care financing and stable arts financing and stable sports financing, and if you don't have that, your culture becomes a parking lot.” - Douglas Coupland
I hear from multiple people monthly about how bad parking is in downtown Beckley and want it fixed. Business owners in downtown Beckley also believe we need more parking. I believe the parking we have fits the needs we have now but is not enough for the Beckley we want to be. Here is a snapshot of downtown parking:
There are 612 city owned parking spaces in the downtown area. The areas shaded in blue are city owned lots. The area in red is city owned but the parking lot is incomplete. The green area is a parking area proposed in the 2104 city comprehensive plan (currently mixed between city and private owned property). All other parking areas visible are private owned or other government lots. Most lots are only half full at any one time except for Word Park parking. This is quite a bit of parking, but we want to build for the future.
I have a plan on how to expand parking and address other parking issues that we have in downtown Beckley.
To expand parking, I will look at leasing the parking lots at First Baptist Church along Alaska Avenue, the old Chase building along Neville Street, and the Mountain State Centers for Independent Living/Daniels property on Prince Street making them monthly parking lots (areas in purple). I will continue the develop the old Burleson Building lot and it will become metered and timed parking (area in red). I will pursue the purchase of the lots between Piney Avenue and North Heber Street which will be a mix of metered/timed parking and monthly parking (area in green). This would increase city managed parking by almost 300 spaces, raising the total to just over 900.
All roadside parking will remain as metered parking with time limits. I do this because of the reality that if we allow anyone to park at the roadside parking spots for free then individuals working downtown will take the spots and people coming into downtown for business will be shut out. I feel this is a small price to pay to bring more people downtown. Lots at Word Park, intersection of Neville and South Heber Street, intersection of South Heber Street and McCreery Street, and on South Kanawha Street will also remain metered and timed parking. These are the prime areas we want to have available for visitors to downtown. These lots are highlighted in blue on the map.
Parking on the second floor of the Beckley Intermodal Gateway, along Piney Avenue, intersection of South Fayette Street and McCreery, intersection of Prince Street and Stanhope Court, along South Heber Street, and along Prince Street above the YMCA will be monthly parking lots. Some limited spots in each lot may be metered or free to support visitors during the day. We will look at reducing the cost of monthly parking in these lots to encourage their use by individuals working downtown. These lots are highlighted yellow on the map.
Parking on the top floor of the Beckley Intermodal Gateway will return to being free and time limited. Parking at the 3rd Avenue lot will remain a mix of free and monthly parking (pink area).
We will continue to offer free parking each weekday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and after 5:00 p.m. to help support downtown businesses (and we will install signs so people actually know that Beckley does have free parking). Weekend and holiday parking will also remain free. I will explore the ability of certain businesses to “validate” parking so that if a customer makes a purchase at their establishment the customer can park for free.
While I have listed some things I will do, there are other things I will not do. I will not tear down the Roche Lab building, and I will not tear down the old police station to create more parking. Unless there are no other options, I will not tear down any building downtown just to create more parking. Although it may cost more, I want to rehabilitate buildings if possible (see Position Paper #7 Downtown Beckley for my plans for the Roche Lab and old police buildings). If it is not feasible, I will look to replace those buildings with new buildings that maintain the historical look of our downtown.
Parking in downtown Beckley is a surprisingly sensitive topic. Beckley needs a leader that can navigate the issues with parking and provide solutions that are fair to property owners and residents alike. Beckley needs a leader that can blend the old with the new to make our city better. Beckley needs a leader that treasures taxpayer money as if it were their daughter’s college savings. I am that leader.
“Unsuccessful people make decisions based on their current situation; successful people make decisions based on where they want to be.” – Anonymous