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Thibodaux takes a fresh look at parking options for its downtown area

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THIBODAUX, Louisiana — City officials are taking a fresh look at parking options in the downtown area.

The Daily Comet reported (http://bit.ly/1ipyMdk) that possible solutions for the 627-space parking area include angled parking, redirecting traffic and possibly a parking garage.

In September 2013, the Baton Rouge-based firm Digital Engineering and Imaging recommended the return of parking meters and the addition of angled parking.

Mayor Tommy Eschete has ruled out meters, saying they are expensive to install and proved ineffective in the past.

The city is seeking more input and hopes to have new recommendations for the City Council later this year.

The Digital Engineering and Imaging study has been given to the Thibodaux Police Department for more examination.

Eschete said the city will hold a town hall meeting for residents and business owners to express concerns with downtown parking and comment on proposed remedies.

"We certainly don't want to implement something that our businesses and our residents in the area don't feel comfortable with," Eschete said.

The city may need to present legislation to the council, but only if it affects special parking designated by ordinance or because of traffic flow. Simply changing the parking does not require legislative changes, Eschete said.

The 2013 study included surveying business owners and 700 residents via. The response rate was 25 percent.

The study cost $40,000, with the state paying 90 percent of the cost. Thibodaux's out-of-pocket expense was $4,000.

The study recommended angled parking because the city wouldn't lose any parking spaces. By pushing all the parking to one side of the street, traffic flow would improve. The firm studied the downtown area from Louisiana Highway 1 to Sixth Street and Canal to Jackson streets.

The firm checked turnover rate to see whether parking was being taken up by the same vehicles or downtown employees.

Downtown is home to numerous government offices and businesses where employees use street parking.

Officials believe the employees for those offices take up parking spaces that could be used by customers of retail businesses and restaurants.


Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com

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