MATTHEWS — The Matthews Board of Commissioners got a first look at data collected from Alta Planning and Design as part of the downtown parking and mobility study on June 10.
The study is evaluating the needs of people walking, biking, driving, taking transit and parking in the downtown area and creating a vision for future travel. The study is also evaluating how to better connect the downtown area to residential neighborhood.
The study started last month and included a citizen’s survey, a Facebook Live presentation and community meetings. Alta also spent three days on the ground surveying the downtown area.
“We have just started the process,” Alta Vice President Wade Walker said. “This very much is a work in progress. We had a lot of public input. Parking was mentioned frequently. People want more parking, and people want convenient parking.’’
Some of the ideas generated from the data collected include changing several side streets in the area to one-way, providing drop-off locations for Uber/Lyft, leasing parking space from local businesses, especially after regular day-time business hours, better way-finding signs, the use of parking apps and creating a potential tunnel under the CSX Railroad tracks on East Charles Street. that would increase bike and pedestrian connectivity to town hall.
“I like the tunnel idea,” Commissioner Barbara Dement said.
Currently, there are 3,659 parking spaces in downtown Matthews, with 2,983 being private off-street parking and 676 public spaces.
“I like the idea of leasing,” Commissioner Jeff Miller said. “Anyone that has run a small business knows it is good to have another way of receiving some income. I would like to research what the going rate is.’’
Commissioner John Urban said he likes the idea of having designated areas for Uber and Lyft drop-offs and pickups.
“Uber and Lyft drivers are just stopping randomly and blocking traffic,” Urban said.
The $129,000 study is being funded through a grant from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, which is covering 80% of the cost of the study. Matthews is funding the other 20%.
The consultants will now take information gathered at the board meeting and finalize recommendations to give the study’s steering committee before any recommendations are presented to the board.
“We hopefully will give you recommendations in the early fall,” Matthews Transportation Planner Dana Stoogenke said. “The survey was really successful. We had 670 hits on that survey. That is significant in that many people were interested in downtown mobility. We got over 800 hits on the Facebook Live that we did.’’