Depending on who you ask, some say finding parking downtown can be difficult while others say it's no problem at all. It's why consultants are conducting a study in downtown Chattanooga to try and bridge that gap.
River City Company is trying to figure out what the next ten years could look like for parking in the Scenic City. They are looking at how to improve parking to better meet the needs of downtown and those who use the area.
"Sometimes you can't find anything, especially during Riverbend and it's very crowded it's very difficult finding a space,” said Downtown Resident Teresa Rohn.
Amy Donahue with River City Company hopes to alleviate some of that frustration by bringing in consultants to look at the current state and the future of parking in Chattanooga.
"We're going out to a lot of folks and major employers downtown seeing what kind of parking they have, seeing if it's already available for public use, and if it's not can we work on that? Is there opportunities for shared parking in places?” Donahue said.
Donahue said this would be the most in-depth parking study in about two decades. Nelson and Nygaard Consulting Associates will spend the next several months meeting with the community and stakeholders that play a role in the city's growth.
"Big employers, UTC, Erlanger, working with those folks to see their plans on growth and what they need in terms of parking,” Donahue explained.
The parking effort comes with a $250,000 price tag. Donahue said it's worth it because downtown Chattanooga currently has about one billion dollars in planned residential development and that means it's time to prepare.
"Figuring out, okay maybe we have garages and parking lots, how often are they being used, doing counts, figuring out how busy certain areas are as well,” Donahue said.
The study is welcome news for some drivers who hope it will make parking smoother downtown.
"Add additional spaces, maybe not be so expensive, and maybe lower the prices for parking,” Rohn suggested.
The consultants will spend the next several months in a data collection phase, then provide advice for the city to create a strategy.
River City Company said they hope to have a copy of their final report of their findings by this summer.
Nelson and Nygaard Consulting Associates has completed similar projects in cities like Asheville, North Carolina, Columbus, Indiana and Hartford, Connecticut.