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Moscow, Idaho, to assess downtown parking

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 14, 2020

By Garrett Cabeza Moscow-Pullman Daily News

The availability of downtown parking has long been a concern for many Moscow residents, so the city plans to examine the parking system this year.

The city council budgeted $45,000 to hire a firm to perform the study that will assess the current downtown public parking system, develop parking system performance objectives, and identify, assess and recommend potential parking management and demand management strategies, Bill Belknap said. The deputy city supervisor of community planning and design spoke Thursday evening during a Moscow Transportation Commission meeting at city hall.

City staff is preparing a request for proposals, which is scheduled to be presented to a Moscow City Council committee Feb. 24 and to the city council March 2.

Belknap said the scope and budget of the study will be discussed further once a consultant is hired. What kind of data the city would like collected, the firm’s ability to collect the data and techniques to collect the desired parking information are examples of what will be discussed.

Belknap said the city conducted five drone flights over downtown to assess parking before its drone operator discovered he was not licensed to operate the drone over public streets. Belknap said he would like to find a way to conduct more flights, because he feels the imagery would greatly benefit the study.

Parking counts are expected to be completed this spring, summer and fall so the city can gather parking data when students are, and are not, largely present, Belknap said. The goal is to complete the study by the end of the year. The city council will then receive recommendations from city staff and determine how to proceed.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, Belknap provided a report on the city’s stop sign warrant analysis for the Third and Hayes streets and Third and Blaine streets intersections.

Belknap said city staff found that the two intersections do not require four-way stops based on their assessments. Eastbound and westbound traffic on East Third Street must stop at the intersections currently.

The additional stop signs were proposed as part of the Third Street traffic calming measures for the vehicular bridge that was expected to be built over Paradise Creek on the east end of Third Street.

The bridge was not funded because the bids came in well over budget, but the city still examined traffic volumes, traffic history and other factors at the two intersections to determine if the stop signs were warranted, based on the city’s policy.

For both intersections, the city determined the traffic volumes were high enough to qualify for stop sign installations, and that there might be sight distance issues at various times, but there were too few traffic accidents and traffic delays to ultimately install the signs.

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