Mission parking task force exploring options for a post-construction Johnson Drive

Sidewalks and parking already have been restored to one side of Johnson Drive.
Sidewalks and parking were already restored along sections of Johnson Drive by July.

The huge construction project on Mission’s Johnson Drive is moving forward and still on schedule for completion this fall. Moving in tandem with the construction is a parking task force trying to come up with a recommendation to resolve what have been persistent issues about parking in Mission’s central business district.

Chairing the task force is Mission Councilor Dave Shepard, who was appointed to the job by Mayor Steve Schowengerdt. The task force has more than a dozen members, but its meeting schedule and minutes are posted on the city’s website and the meetings are open. Shepard said interest has been limited outside of the task force members.

“The reality is we’ve got parking challenges on Johnson Drive,” Shepard said. “And we’ve got real challenges if business owners and property owners park on Johnson Drive.” Shepard hopes the group can come to a unanimous recommendation for the council by October so any suggested adjustments can be rolled into the construction project.

“I don’t know what we are going to recommend,” Shepard said. It could range from having no regulations to parking enforcement of some variety. Shepard said he has seen little interest in metered parking so far. Some creative solutions could open up more spots to Johnson Drive customers, he suggests.

The group has heard from parking experts and taken walking tours, both east and west from Woodson. “You get a much different feel when you walk it and get up close,” Shepard said, and west of Woodson has more problems which might mean different recommendations.

Next Tuesday evening, the group will take a bus tour of other commercial areas such as downtown Overland Park and Brookside. Shepard expects two or three more meetings for the task force to complete its work.