Downtown leaders call for city to review parking garage spots for visitors

3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:58:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
By: Lindsey Fafoglia and Stephanie Hamann, KOMU 8 Reporters
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COLUMBIA - The Downtown Leadership Council wants more parking spaces for customers and visitors downtown. 

The Downtown Leadership Council is sending a letter to the city council Wednesday, asking them to review parking policies for the Plaza Garage (at 8th Street and Walnut Street) and the Short Street Garage (next to the Broadway Hotel).

In the letter, the Leadership Council wrote "In general, the DLC wants to see more public parking spaces on the first floor of all of the parking garages for the convenience of downtown business customers." 

Downtown Leadership Council member Randy Gray said people who need to park for longer periods of time should be on the upper floors of garages. He said the letter will be on the agenda for the upcoming city council meeting.

A shift manager at MidiCi restaurant said parking is difficult to find for both customers and employees. 

"There's not a lot of street parking, we have enough seating here to have almost 200 people," Dean Zapf said. 

He said almost every single person who comes into the restaurant who does not live in walking distance says he or she wasn't able to find parking. He said the problem gets worse on game days. 

"Another parking garage would be nice," Zapf said. 

He said he would like to see restaurants and shops built with a parking garage on top, similar to how apartment buildings are built on top of shops. 

"We would be able to accommodate more businesses, open up more jobs and still have more parking down here," Zapf said. 

Zapf said he has received parking tickets while at work, and customers have come in after their meal to complain they received a ticket while dining.  

Bethany Haskins, another Midici employee, said she and other employees have been late to shifts because there are no parking spots nearby. 

Katie Belt, shop coordinator at M. Boss Barber and Salon, said employees show up late because they can't find parking.

"With our clients too, sometimes they're 30 minutes late, and then sometimes they have to reschedule because of that." 

The letter to city council is the first step for the council, but members plan to follow up. 

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