Three good things — more residents in the River Market area, popular food destinations in the City Market, and use of the new streetcar line — created one bad thing for Kansas City parking control.
“It became a big problem in the neighborhood,” said city planner Claude Page. “We’ve had to set some three-hour limits.”
Signs in the heart of the City Market and on some nearby lots and streets now limit parking durations because of long-term parking that mushroomed after the streetcar line began operating in May.
The city quickly noticed that some workers, who had been paying for parking downtown, began using free spaces in the market area and taking the streetcar to their jobs. The commuter parking filled too many spaces that needed to be kept open for rotating daytime visitors.
That problem built on what Page called the “two-car struggle” related to the apartment boom in the neighborhood. Many of the apartments provide one parking space per unit for residents, but a second car owner in a unit often has to use on-street locations or other open lots.
The parking crunch is prompting an intensive traffic study for the area. Page said meetings will begin the third week in September to get input from residents and businesses.
The city also is negotiating to provide more public parking at Fifth and Main streets in a planned multi-use residential and retail development.
Page noted, though, that it isn’t easy for the city to project what kinds of parking needs might be necessary, say, 10 years from now. The City Market is expected to continue to be a destination for drivers from around the metropolitan area, but residents and workers in the neighborhood might become increasingly car-less.
“We could find a lot more use of public transportation, biking and walking,” Page said. “These are considerations in long-term planning.”