Downtown Tuscaloosa parking study suggestions: More signage, paid parking

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Jocelyn Claborn

There’s plenty of parking in downtown Tuscaloosa. It’s just located in places people can’t or don’t park. That’s the gist of the downtown parking study released April 12 during the city’s Public Planning Commission meeting.

Planning and design consultant company Kimley-Horn was in charge of the study. Their findings include:

  • Downtown Tuscaloosa has 1,541 on-street parking spaces
    • Of those, 988 spaces are timed spaces
  • There are 70 off-street parking facilities, but 79% of off-street parking is private and access is restricted
    • Of off-street parking spaces available, 2,197 spaces are private
    • Only two off-street parking facilities are public: the Intermodal Facility and a parking lot on Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard. Neither have signage directing drivers to them
  • The highest-demand area was the Temerson Square area, Fourth Street between 22nd Avenue and Greensboro Avenue.
  • During the study’s peak-hours timeframe (6-8 p.m. on a weekday), the Lurleen Wallace parking lot was less than 20% full and the Intermodal Facility was 53% full

Those findings suggest downtown Tuscaloosa doesn’t need more parking, said Kimley-Horn Transportation Planner Jeshua Pringle. It needs better parking management.

“We wanted to get a better understanding of how parking is being used, what the true supply is and what the demand is to determine ways to improve the efficiency of the parking system,” Pringle said.

Suggestions for improvement include encouraging companies to offer their parking spaces to downtown drivers, implementing paid parking and increasing signage so more people know where free, accessible parking exists.

“We really want to make sure that customers and business owners have the best experience possible,” Pringle said. “When you’re coming to downtown Tuscaloosa, you want to have parking that’s easy to access and to have a predictable parking experience. So, we’re looking at ways to put the parking system in the user’s hands.”

During the meeting, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said the city was looking at paid parking in the downtown area, but the COVID pandemic put a pin in it.

You can view the study presentation below:

2022-04-12_City of Tuscaloosa - Downtown Parking Study

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