Marble Falls, Burnet, Kingsland, Llano, Spicewood, Horseshoe Bay, and ALL of the Highland Lakes
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Parking congestion in downtown Marble Falls has become a hot-button issue among residents and local business owners. The city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board Number One discussed solutions to the problem during a regular meeting on Jan. 24. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
One way to ease parking congestion in downtown Marble Falls could be to shuttle employees from an off-site lot to their jobs, members of the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board Number One suggested at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24. They also discussed reclaiming city right-of-ways on side streets to make room for more parking, similar to the revamping of Fourth and Main streets at the Highland Art Guild and Gallery.
“I don’t think there’s one simple answer, but I know that our (downtown business) sales are capped because if the people can’t park — unless there’s some absolute reason for them to be there — they’ll avoid (the area),” TIRZ board member Mitch McManus said. “I hear it constantly.”
A tax increment reinvestment zone establishes a baseline value for a designated area and reallocates some or all of the additional ad valorem property taxes collected for improvements designed to draw new businesses. Marble Falls TIRZ Board Number One meets when necessary to discuss projects and financing for its zone, which stretches from just south of the U.S. 281 bridge to RR 1431. The next meeting is Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 800 Third St.
Board member Joe Don Dockery agreed with McManus’ point about how parking impacts his own decisions as a consumer and can hurt Main Street businesses.
“If it’s 95 degrees, and I’ve got to walk up two blocks of hills, I’m not going,” Dockery said.
He encouraged the board to consider using existing right-of-ways to create more parking for customers.
“These streets were platted 80 to 100 feet wide,” he said, explaining that the paved area is only about 45 feet wide. “We ought to be utilizing that and get those parking spots.”
The board also suggested hiring a parking specialist to study the area and present solutions.
“That is an option,” said Downtown and Marketing Manager Erin Burks. “There are firms that specialize in parking studies. I think it was Georgetown where they did a parking study to see the utilization of the parking that’s there and where they could capture some more surface parking.”
A shuttle service for downtown employees could immediately take 30 cars off of Main Street, said board member Rebecca Nunnally.
“I think that would make a big difference,” she said.
McManus is hopeful the discussion will lead to a comprehensive plan to fix downtown parking problems.
“We don’t have to solve it overnight,” he said. “It can be baby steps. If you have a plan to follow, you can get 10 spots here, 10 there, 10 there, and before long, you have 100 spots.”
To conclude the discussion, TIRZ board members Kyle Stripling, Matt Cochran, McManus, and Nunnally volunteered to join a transportation subcommittee to further examine solutions for downtown parking.