Mission’s Johnson Drive parking task force closing in on recommendations; two-hour limit likely

Construction crews are making progress on installing new parking areas along Johnson Drive.
Construction crews are making progress on installing new parking areas along Johnson Drive.

A Mission task force that has been grappling with the question of how downtown parking will be regulated after the Johnson Drive rebuild is likely to wrap up its initial work this month with eight recommendations for the city council. Among those draft proposals is one that would restrict parking to two hours along the street from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Juan Swart hopes a renewed volume of customers create a need for more parking. Photo by Bill Nichols
Juan Swart hopes a renewed volume of customers create a need for more parking. Photo by Bill Nichols

The task force has met for regularly months to work out a best case parking scenario after construction ends, but the task force plans to continue meeting periodically to monitor what happens when traffic – and parking – return to normal. In an ironic twist, task force members are rooting for future parking problems. “My anticipation and hope as a business owner – I want a parking problem,” task force member Juan Swart said at a meeting this week. That would mean so many customers are flocking back to Johnson Drive shops they can’t be accommodated with current spaces.

“We are not stopping here. This is what we can do now. I hope we come back and recommend that we need more parking,” said Becky Hanf. Task force chair Dave Shepard hopes the recommendations to the council, expected to be wrapped up by the end of the month, will be unanimous from the diverse group. Shepard also believes the task force will need to monitor results.

“(This is) maybe not the final step, but it is a first step,” Shepard said of the recommendations that include a two-hour limit. A concern of the group is employees who park on Johnson Drive, taking up spaces for customers. The limit is designed to prevent that all-day parking.

Johnson Drive has about 210 parking spaces in the Nall to Lamar construction zone. The task force also wants to encourage use of other city lots that lie south of Johnson Drive. A total of 56 spaces are on city-owned property near Outlook, but the lots need some improvements. The city also has a long-term lease (until 2018) at the lot across from Sylvester Powell Community Center and a short-term lease (end of the year) on another lot on Beverly.

The other task force recommendations will probably include improving the city-owned lots, creating signage for parking, creating a variety of marketing and information materials and working out shared parking agreements with some private lots. Johnson Drive construction is scheduled to be complete by November.

The Johnson Drive Parking Task Force met again this week. It has been working through its recommendations over the course of months.
The Johnson Drive Parking Task Force met again this week. It has been working through its recommendations over the course of months. Photo by Bill Nichols.

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