City parking study does not recommend creating additional parking downtown

City parking study does not recommend creating additional parking downtown

The city of Paducah is now another step closer to developing the downtown parking lot on Water Street, between Jefferson and Kentucky Avenue, into a hotel and event space.

The hotel — in addition to retail, commercial and residential space — is a part of the city's future tax increment financing (TIF) district. After months of delay, the public is getting a look at the draft version of the $6,000 study done by Concepts 21.

The parking study concluded there is no demand for more parking spaces in downtown Paducah. A parking study by the city was required as part of a preliminary agreement with property developer Weyland Ventures.

Concepts 21 analyzed six different dates and times between November and December of 2019 to see how often the downtown parking lot on Water Street is used, in addition to 12 other surrounding blocks.

The city also asked Concept 21 to analyze parking for an 84-room hotel. In January 2019, the Paducah TIF district hotel study suggested a boutique hotel with about 35 to 50 rooms. In October 2019, the city entered into a preliminary agreement with Weyland Ventures, and it first proposed a four-story, 120-room hotel instead.

City parking study does not recommend creating additional parking downtown

The study said within a one-block radius of the city block project there would be a total of 560 spaces available. It concluded the 560 spaces would exceed the projected demand of parking for the future development. It added that public parking is underused in most of the downtown area and said the city needs to improve parking visibility for its downtown visitors.

Parking was something Jerry Lee was worried about when he first heard about the proposed hotel in that parking lot.

"Availability," Lee said. "You know, people, businesses losing business for one thing. That's a big thing here I think."

Concept 21 studied a 12-block radius and looked at places that had a walking distance of one to two minutes from the riverfront. It found a total of 1,712 public parking spaces. Of those, 1,149 were off-the-street parking spaces. The bulk of the off-street parking include public parking lots owned by the Carson Center and U.S. Bank. The city has agreements to use those parking spots for public use. The study said another 563 parking spots were located on the streets.

The study said only 22% to 38% of those available parking spaces are used in the downtown area.

Matthew McCoy said that's a surprise to him.

"You come down here on a weekend," McCoy said. "I've been down here on the weekend, you know, bring my wife down here. It gets pretty busy down here."

The study also mentioned there will still be 172 parking spaces in the design of the city block area. The 172 parking spaces do not include required hotel spaces. A city ordinance dictates if the city builds a proposed 84-room hotel they must have 84 parking spaces. The parking study said the mandatory 84 hotel spots would be at the adjacent farmers market lot, in addition to any required event space spots.

Lee said he understands parking may be fine for everyday use, but he still worries about parking for big events like Barbecue on the River.

"I like walking anyway, so it’s no big deal," Lee said. "I can park at the library parking lot and walk down here. It’s not a big issue for me, but for some other people who are not as able as I am, they might have a problem with it.”

A number of downtown business have spoken against the downtown project, and parking was their main concern. Alberta Davis, a Paducah business woman and leader in the opposition of the city block project, said they’ll speak publicly after the parking study is presented to the commissioners.

The final draft of the parking study will be presented to the city commissioners on Tuesday by Concepts 21.

City parking study does not recommend creating additional parking downtown