The Parking Task Force informed council they found increasing existing downtown parking was the most critical of their recommendations.
Originally set up to review parking options on a portion of 3rd Avenue between 2nd Street West and 1st Street East, John Shoff of the Task Force presented their recommendations to council during the meeting on Monday, April 12, 2010.
Following their review of the information provided and meetings with Bill Bachynski, Fire Chief, Jay Magus of iTrans, Tony Chelick of Alberta Transportation and Bob Sheddy, local realtor, their most critical recommendations were aimed at increasing parking in downtown as they felt this had a direct impact on the viability of the downtown retail market.
To ease traffic flow on 3rd Avenue, the Task Force recommended a new lane designation teamed with a change in the lights cycle on the eastbound/westbound traffic at the Highway 9/3rd Avenue intersection and parallel parking on both sides on the street from the intersection to 1st Street only.
The new lane designation would introduce two westbound lanes from 1st Street to the traffic lights at 3rd Avenue.
One lane would be a left and thru and other would be a right and thru with half the cycle of the lights being dedicated to westbound traffic only and the remaining half of the cycle being open to both westbound and eastbound traffic.
They are suggesting introducing two eastbound lanes with a left and thru and a right only.
The Task Force also reviewed the curb extensions required for this new setup and recommended a semi curb extension at the NW corner intersection of 1st Street and 3rd Avenue and a curb extension at the NW corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue.
To improve the current parking shortage in downtown, the Task Force asked that the two parking lots currently being developed behind 3rd Avenue’s south side running both east and west off of 1st Street continue to be developed fully.
To offer RV and long vehicle parking in the downtown core, they suggested moving the recycling bins located south of the Waldorf Hotel to the other side of Community Futures building.
They also suggested implementing a 5 minute loading stall in front of the Royal Bank and the removal of an alley behind 3rd Avenue buildings between 1st Street and 2nd Street to allow for a better layout of the new parking lot.
To widen roadways in the downtown core, the Task Force suggested adjusting the angle of the parking stalls by approximately 10 degrees sharper. Shoff explained this would also increase visibility, making angle parking safer.
Shoff presented findings considered critical pertaining to better signage, a new railway crossing, and a gap study for 2nd Avenue with a view to changing the intersection there westbound which currently only allows a right turn.
Further recommendations were made that a no oversize parking on downtown streets should be enforced once the new parking lots are created and the alley on these lots to be improved.
With the intent to push more vehicle traffic to Centre Street and encourage more pedestrian traffic towards 1st Street and downtown, the Task Force recommended the development of 1st Street West.
As the suggested plan for 3rd Avenue has a limited life span of 5 to 10 years, depending on tourism and the town’s growth, the Task Force highlighted another study will be required in the long term future to see if further modifications need to be done.
John Shoff concluded that a long range study should be done to ensure parking is kept adequate to make downtown a viable retail market.
The Task Force recommended that the Town of Drumheller, in conjunction with local business owners, Chamber of Commerce, and various other economic development outlets should become more proactive in the cultivation of a balanced, vibrant, and economically successful downtown core.
Council will be discussing the recommendations at their next Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, April 19, 2010.