By Roger Adkins
Upshur Bureau Chief
BUCKHANNON - Though there is no shortage of available spaces, Buckhannon can sometimes be a bit of a parking puzzle, according to some local
The Inter-Mountain photo by Roger Adkins
Vehicles occupy two-hour free parking spaces Thursday along Main Street in Buckhannon. Officials with the community group Create Buckhannon want to assess the current parking situation in the city to assure that it is friendly to visitors.
Members of the community organization Create Buckhannon said Thursday there may be ways to improve the parking situation, particularly in the downtown area.
The group last looked at the city's parking situation in 2008. Officials created a map that highlighted the type and number of parking spaces available in the city.
According to the map, there were 55 free two-hour spaces, 100 metered 10-hour spaces, 47 metered two-hour spaces, 216 reserved parking spaces, 16 Americans With Disabilities Act compliant spaces and an extensive amount of private parking.
At the time, Create Buckhannon did not make any recommendations to the city regarding public parking issues. But it may be time to reassess parking in the city and determine if there is room for improvement, Create Buckhannon member C.J. Rylands said.
The idea is to include the public and city officials in an open dialogue, Rylands said.
"Issues like this a lot of times are dealt with in an autocratic, top-down way. When you eliminate the stakeholders, it can create tension. The process would be a lot better if we bring everyone to the table," he said.
The group plans to update the parking map to provide a snapshot of what has changed since 2008, he said.
One focal point is to promote improvements that benefit visitors to the city, Rylands said. The city has an active downtown with a lot to offer. And tourism is a great benefit to local businesses owners, so it's important to keep visitors happy, he said.
Another issue is assuring clarity so visitors know where they can park. This will help promote positive experiences, Rylands said.
"There's no signage telling you where the parking is and what the rules are," he said.
Few Main Street businesses have designated parking for customers and little, if any, designated parking for employees, Create Buckhannon member Dr. Joseph Reed said.
"It's a multi-faceted problem, and maybe we need to sit down and talk about what we can do," he said.
Create Buckhannon does not want to create any problems for city officials, Rylands said. He believes everyone can work together to continue making the city an attractive destination for visitors.