WF leaders working to address downtown parking shortage

Downtown Wichita Falls Parking
Downtown Wichita Falls Parking

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Downtown Wichita Falls is continuing to grow. But while business is increasing, so is the concern for the lack of parking.

The city has heard input from business owners and is doing something about it. They want to address the issue before it becomes a problem.

"As downtown grows, there's going to be more of a demand," Owner of Odd Duck Coffee, Ted Klopf said. "There's going to need to be more parking. So the fact that they're forward thinking in that is encouraging."

Klopf is one of many downtown business owners that see's a potential parking problem in the Central Business District.

"One or two parking spots per business probably isn't adequate," he said. "You want more people than that to come into your place. As the volume grows, it's going to be an issue.

"If they're not able to park close to your business, chances are they're not going to come," Klopf added. "Nobody wants to walk half a mile to go get a cup of coffee."

That is why John Burrus and the Traffic and Aviation Department are hard at work on a comprehensive traffic study of the area.

Burrus said they are looking at the number of parking spaces, how many are being used, and buildings that could be knocked down for additional spots.

"It's time to get a little bit creative and see what options we have available out there to add a few more parking spaces in certain areas of downtown," Burrus said.

Executive Director of Downtown Development, Cynthia Laney, said, right now, lack of parking is not affecting event turnout.

"We still are getting quite a few visitors and quite a few attendees at all of our events," Laney said. "At the farmers market and things like that."

Burrus's goal is to make sure it stays that way.

"If you can't find a parking space, you're going to take your business someplace else," Burrus said. "So it's very important to the economic development of Wichita Falls."

Burrus said it will take him and his staff until August to finish the study and six to eight weeks to complete the final report.

After the report is completed, Burrus will present it to city councilors and the downtown revitalization committee.

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