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My Turn: Why I voted against Concord’s parking study

I voted against the Concord parking study because regardless of how you feel about the proposed Complete Streets Project, it makes no sense to pay for a parking study that would not be completed until after construction of the Main Street project has been started. And while this study incorporates a large area outside of the downtown, the meat and potatoes portion of this study will strongly impact the downtown.

What happens if the study recommends the suggestions made in yesterday’s Monitor editorial? What happens if the study recommends different parking options then in the Complete Street Project’s plans, which have cost us more than $600,000? What happens if the city decides to follow recommendations from the parking study after construction has started?

Do we ignore the recommendations from a $115,000 parking study? Do we redo parking on Main Street before the project is even completed? Will this be another example of Concord not getting it right the first time? Is there the specter of Downing Street looming over this project?

In their final report dated November 2012, the Complete Streets Committee, appointed by our mayor and chaired by Steve Duprey, recommended that the city undertake a parking study before the start of any construction. They understood that how we manage parking for our downtown has a significant impact on traffic, shopping patterns and the economic vitality of our city.

I stated very clearly at Monday’s city council meeting that I would vote to support this parking study if the study was completed before the start of construction. I would have voted for the parking study if I had been assured that if we accepted the recommendations from the study, those recommendations could be incorporated into the Complete Streets Project before the start of construction.

I voted against the $115,000 resolution for a parking study because I will not waste your money on a study that won’t be used or will require the redoing of a Main Street project before it is even completed.

(Concord City Councilor Allan Herschlag represents Ward 2.)

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