Ashland may see more parking in the near future

Finding parking in Ashland can be a challenge, but the city wants to fix that.

A meeting tonight gave the public a first look at parking proposals from a consultant.

“Parking is something that everybody has experienced,” Consultant Rick Williams said.

An experience… that isn’t always so pleasant.

“When I don’t leave here until 6:30, 7, 8, 8:30, you’re walking blocks in the dark,” Manager Nana Langton said.

Langton works at Mountain Provisions on the plaza.

She and her employees often have to park nearly half a mile away.

“I mean we need more parking… for sure,” Langton said.

The city of Ashland agrees.

Rick Williams Consulting is proposing a two-phase plan to improve parking downtown over the next three years.

“I think it’s tailored to the unique character of Ashland because Ashland is a very unique city, and it’s got a lot of stakeholder input,” Williams said.

The first phase would involve hiring a parking manager and creating a new parking brand to clearly show where parking is available.

Additional parking wouldn’t be added until the second phase.

“Where you would put it, how much you need, and how you might link it all together… you have to figure out how you’re going to pay for it,” Williams said.

While most say it’s a start, some are still concerned.

They’re worried about parking in neighborhoods, alternate forms of getting around and the affect of the plan on local businesses.

“I think if they fixed it somehow that we would see more of the locals spending more money and time in downtown,” Langton said.

A committee will be re-drafting the plan with the public’s input in January.

The city will be taking additional comments until December 7th.

You can send your comments to the email [email protected]

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