BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Clarkston’s Parking Committee will soon be hitting the streets downtown, collecting their own data on where and when people park.
“Let’s find out for ourselves – how many parking spaces are in the city for real,” said committee member Erich Lines, at the committee’s first meeting, Feb. 15. “We need to take a practical look at what’s going on.”
A parking survey completed by the Transportation Improvement Association last summer came up with 306 parking spaces, available to the public.
However, the survey didn’t include all the parking lots off Main Street with public parking, or Washington and Church streets east of Main Street. This could add more than 100 spaces to the list, the committee said.
The committee, also including City Council member and chair, Rick Detkowski, council member Jason Kneisc, Mike Besch, Jennifer Radcliff, and Kay Pierson, will count spaces and note how many vehicles are parked in them throughout the week, at different times.
Kneisc said the majority of the parking issue seems to be during the day.
“I don’t hear people have a problem parking downtown at night,” he said. “During the day, I hear it’s very different.”
Parking is most difficult between 4-7 p.m., when employees are leaving for the day and restaurant patrons are lining up, Radcliff said.
Lines, one of the owners of the Union restaurants, said 6 p.m. is when they are seating the most.
“That’s the biggest wave,” he said.
Items for action also include talking to Council member David Marsh about reactivating the city’s streets committee, reviewing a map of parking lots in the city, and talking to city engineer Gary Tressel about parking options, such as restriping city-owned parking areas to add more spots.
“Go for the low-hanging fruit first, and find some answers,” Radcliff said.
Besch, who lives on Church Street, said they should work to ensure adequate parking for businesses while not disrupting residents.
Lines agreed, calling for them to figure out ways to have harmony for everybody.
Radcliff said her priority is historic preservation.
“It’s a really important part of how we maintain our homes, lifestyles, and all the rest of it,” she said. “Make sure we keep the protections in place, make sure people understand the value of those protections.”
Kneisc’s ideas include looking into technology such as computer apps showing available parking in real time.
Cara Catallo, liaison with the Clarkston Historic District Commission, said wayfinding signs could be used to help patrons find available parking. Ideas also include working with Main Street Oakland County, of which the city is a member, applying for Certified Local Government status, which would allow the city to apply for more grants, and establishing a 501c3 non-profit group for parking, to give residents an opportunity to make donations.
“There’s a lot of untapped philanthropy in town,” Detkowski said.
At their next meeting, they’ll discuss bringing in retailers to discuss the results of their investigation and options for parking.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO