Parking problems in Burlington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Parking problems in Burlington

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Drivers in Burlington saw parking prices go up for city spots in November. Wednesday night was their opportunity to sound off on the spike.

From backyard to parking lot-- it is a major transformation behind Shannon Dufour-Martinez's house in Burlington's Old North End.

"We park seven cars in our backyard," Dufour-Martinez said.

Those seven spaces were needed because the house's tenants could rarely find a spot to park.

"We used to have a backyard," she said, shaking her head.

Hoping to get that backyard back, Dufour-Martinez attended a meeting Wednesday that gave the public a chance to learn and sound off on the Queen City's parking headaches.

Andy Hill, who works for Desman Associates, a parking consulting company, has studied the city's parking trends. He told residents spaces are available if they know where to look.

"You may need to look at your signage that's guiding folks to the various facilities," Hill recommended to the city.

Julia Connell says she has few problems with finding a spot, but she is content to park farther away from Church Street.

"There are other options farther outside of the city down closer to St Paul Street that really aren't that much farther," Julia Connell said.

Another issue addressed at the meeting: half of the spaces in the Queen City are reserved for private use.

"We feel that finding a way to unlock this and make this available beyond just exclusive users may be one of the solutions," Hill said.

Some say unlocking those spaces is especially important around the city's marketplace garage and Church Street. On any given weekend, Hill says 86 percent of spaces there are filled at peak hours. One solution according to Hill: "Possibly eliminating pricing at certain times at certain facilities in order to make them more attractive to folks."

More attractive for people like Dufour-Martinez's clients who, when traveling to her downtown office, get frustrated hunting for a spot.

"I work in the downtown area and we have a lot of clients that come to see us that don't realize they can still park at the other parking garages for the first two hours free," said Dufour-Martinez.

The city says those first two hours will stay free, and studies on the Queen City's parking system will finish in the spring of next year.

Hill noted that away from Church Street, congestion in the city is less of a problem. However at the marketplace, visitors drive to their destination and circle until finding a spot. He suggests using better signage to direct motorists to areas where more spots are available.

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