In a briefing Monday morning, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City Council heard a presentation on downtown parking conditions, and ways to move forward in addressing the area’s rapid growth.
Among the factors addressed were new residential projects and venues such as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and planned Major League Soccer stadium.
Also reviewed during the presentation were the required parking spaces developments must provide, in proportion to the number of units built, as well as proximity to public transit options like Sunrail. Provided were case studies from 17 cities, comparing what other municipalities were doing to manage parking efficiently.
Some commissioners voiced concerns, including how downtown parking spaces were classified by property owners. Owners can enter into agreements with other businesses and residences to share spaces and designate them as “reserved,” often causing visitors to spill out of garages and into adjacent residential neighborhoods.
“You’ve got empty lots of reserved spaces, we’re letting them have these lots and they’re not sharing” said District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan, citing Delaney Park parking as an example.
Developers should be allowed flexibility under current code to add more spaces to developments to meet needs, she added.
District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart questioned methods the city used to count spaces and how they were used at 55 West.
“In my mind, having bona fide numbers to justify what’s going is important to us,” he said.
The city intends to create “tiered approach to parking reductions” that will encourage residents to use alternative modes of transportation. But some city leaders met that plan with caution.
“Most people today still own a car.” added District 1 Commissioner Jim Gray “I’ve got seven Millennials who all own cars. If we have any reservation about spillover into streets, we err on the side of asking owners to accommodate, as oppose to not having enough and having a negative impact.”