City Council committee gets early glimpse of downtown parking recommendations

Tacoma City Council’s community and economic development committee yesterday heard an early report from a parking advisory panel that aims to improve parking and transportation options in downtown Tacoma.
The Transit & Parking Advisory Committee, formed in 2006 by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, includes 12 members from a variety of backgrounds, such as downtown merchants, employees, and regional transportation officials, who have examined the issue over the past two years. City Manager Eric Anderson has put the issue to the forefront, and yesterday’s report is expected to add to the City’s future planning on parking and transportation.
During yesterday’s meeting, committee members heard general and specific recommendations for improvement.
According to the report, the advisory committee’s general recommendations include the following:
— An effective downtown transportation plan should be developed that considers pedestrian, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, bus, rail, and parking as coordinated elements of a strategic transportation system.
— A more robust, employer-based transportation demand management program, or “Destination Downtown Door-to-Door,” should be pursued to provide effective, customer-focused alternatives to parking.
— The City, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, and downtown stakeholders should institute a Downtown Transportation and Parking Panel to foster regular communication and facilitate collaborative decision-making.
Further, the parking advisory committee has made six specific recommendations:
— Maximize efficiency of current transit and parking operations
— Create a strong transit and parking system business plan
— Enhance communications about the transit and parking system
— Implement new technology
— Institute a “customer care” program
— Provide flexibility to respond to special events and changing needs.