A parking crunch along
Business owners and landlords along the historic heart of downtown “are experiencing a parking crisis that directly affects our ability to do business and attract new businesses and tenants,” according to Mark Policki, owner of Bristol Cleaners & Custom Tailoring.
Tom Zipp, a landlord, said the city has “a once-in-a-lifetime” chance to add angled parking on the west side of the street that would go a long way toward easing the parking pinch.
While city officials say they are sympathetic, they have held the line against making any changes until plans for the former downtown mall site are much farther along, effectively blocking any new parking there for at least a few years.
A $1.3 million streetscape improvement project that’s slated to overhaul the look of the road from
Jonathan Rosenthal, the city’s economic development director, said that about eight new spots would be added on the lower section of the streetscape.
“That’s a lot,” Policki said.
But even with better parallel parking along the sides of the road, business owners fear that the crunch will worsen after The Bristol Press moves its offices into a former dance studio this month. [More on this later.]
Zipp, who owns the
For the time being, most of the overflow parking from the area heads for the former mall parking lot between McDonald’s and the railroad bridge across
The city, which owns the site, has no problem with people using the lot, but warns that it might become unavailable whenever a developer is brought in to revitalize the 17-acre former mall property.
Rosenthal said the city is working with the Bristol Downtown Development Corp. to get a study done of the parking situation throughout downtown, which may be the first step toward a future parking garage or other new lots.
Rosenthal said he looked into putting new parking behind Policki’s building, but found it would cost $35,000 per space, which is too high.
Policki said the city has to act.
“Lack of customer and tenant parking is a daily problem for all of us” who have businesses on
He said a concerted effect by the city is required to find ways to create more nearby parking.
“We just need more parking spaces down there,” city Councilor Ken Cockayne said.
The streetscape project, ,which aims to replicate the look of North Main Street’s 2005 project, will add bumpouts, new sidewalks, trees, lights and more to make the section more attractive and inviting. It is slated to get underway in the coming year.
But it’s not meant to add any significant amount of parking.
Mayor Art Ward said that the city has to make sure it’s safe before it can try angled parking on
To add spaces would require the city to build a new lot or to move the west side of
Ward said that any developer of the mall site is going to want ample parking so perhaps it can be part of the package.
Zipp said that angled parking on
Policki said that once the parking situation is addressed, the city will find new businesses seeking to open on
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