Study recommends better use of street parking in Town of Bath

November 17, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Suggestions for improving street parking were made Tuesday night by consultants who have been working on a study for the Town of Bath.

Representatives from Desman Associates of McLean, Va., addressed members of the town's parking committee and the public at Berkeley Springs Presbyterian Church.

Michael Connor, senior associate for Desman Associates, and Faye Dastgheib, parking planner, have been working on the parking study since June. 

Connor said about 800 parking spaces are available in the town, but only 102 of them are metered. 

He said the meters are old and hard to read, and visitors do not know how long they can park. 

Warnings should be given out on first violations by using a computerized hand-held device, Connor said.

"It adds a certain level of customer service," he said. 

"That technology is very expensive," Bath Mayor Susan J. Webster said.

But Connor said the $20,000 to $40,000 cost of the device could be paid for over time by increasing parking rates and adding more meters.  


Restriping certain areas would add 11 new parking spaces, with the only expense being paint, he said.

"Manage what you have," Connor said.

In order to pay for parking improvements, he suggested increasing the parking costs on Washington Street at the 25 cents-per-hour meters to 50 cents and the 50 cents-per-hour meters to 75 cents.  

Connor suggested making metered zones for two, four and eight hours, and creating signs that direct customers to parking places.

He also said local employees also need places to park with permits in long-term spots. 

The town's parking study committee received a Governor's Community Partnership Grant of $19,700 for the study. The funding was matched by the Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, the Morgan County Economic Development Authority and the Town of Bath (from Region 9), according to Sally Marshall, a parking study committee member. The total budget for the project is $39,400, Marshall said. 

About 25 community members attended the meeting. 

Marshall said a final decision on the study will be made by the end of December.



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