June 13, 2017 Study finds adequate, but inaccessible parking in downtown Homewood

HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) –

Nearly three times a week, you’ll find Jan Bizjak scooting around downtown Homewood. “We love the city, hate the parking,” she says laughing.

“It’s a big waiting game. You have to wait until somebody pulls out and if you’re parking on the hill, it’s awful,” she adds.

In April, the Regional Planning Commission did a study on parking in downtown Homewood. They looked at 50 lots, both privately and city owned.

“What we found was about 50-percent of the private lots were occupied during the day and 75-percent of the city owned lots, on the street angled parking, occupied during the day,” says RPC Principal Planner Lindsay Puckett.

Puckett says the study found there are plenty of spaces available in the free parking lot underneath city hall, but not a lot of folks use it.

Another problem the study found are signs found all throughout downtown that say parking is for two hours. The problem, RPC officials say, is that no one is enforcing the time.

“If parking would be enforced, there would be a lot more turnover,” Puckett says.

But Mayor Scott McBrayer doesn’t call downtown parking a challenge. “To me, the bigger problem as city would be if you could pull up to any store front that you wanted at any time of day. That would show me a city that is not thriving,” he says.

He says parking is tougher to find during a very specific time of day, from eleven o’clock in the morning to one o’clock in the afternoon.

Other than that, he says it’s not really a problem and he feels there are other more important issues the city should focus on.

Still, he’s open to improving the issue. “If we have specific windows of time that we can address and improve those conditions, then I think we should be open as a city to do that,” McBrayer said.