The purpose of this document is to frame a recommended approach to a comprehensive parking plan for Chagrin Falls. This concept is not being offered as a finished product. It is intended as a framework for public discussion and modification by the members of the Parking Commission to develop a final proposal to Village Council. It is expected that multiple changes to this concept may be recommended for very good reasons by the public and/or members of the Commission.
Plan Objectives and Background
The subject of parking is complex with many considerations that argue for a comprehensive approach. However, there is no perfect solution that can please all parties. No sub-issues within the Village parking challenge can be solved perfectly, because many interrelate and there are real constraints. The geography of the Village and its residential “ring” around a commercially dense Village Center limits the practical solutions available to attack this complex problem. Therefore, the objective of a comprehensive parking program should be to structure a plan that is optimized as much as possible across the range of considerations within practical physical and financial constraints. Compromises are unavoidable and it is likely that there will be no one in the Village who will like all elements of any program implemented.
Managing the parking process in the Village has been an identified problem for over 100 years. Newspaper articles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries lamented that the shortage of hitching posts that discouraged people from the countryside from patronizing Village stores.
It is also important to recognize that no program can be viewed as permanent or static. Once implemented, circumstances will change over time, and the actual effects of the changes will be learned and adjustments will be required. It is not possible to predict all of the consequences of a complete program. The core of a comprehensive parking program is managing and changing the parking behaviors of people. We can try to predict the effects of actions taken, but it is highly probable that there will be unpredicted results. It is an expected natural part of the plan that subsequent requirements will be identified and adjustments will have to be implemented. Parking is a dynamic issue that will require dynamic adjustment over time.
The primary objective is to relieve parking congestion during peak periods of routine activity. No practical plan can solve the parking congestion that occurs during major events such as Blossom Festival, Art in the Park and other such events. The reality is that the Village has a concentrated business district that is surrounded by essentially fully developed and occupied real estate. There are no obvious, easy and low cost ways to increase materially the overall public and private parking capacity in close proximity to the central business and historic residential district. Therefore, the intent of this concept is to optimize the use of available parking capacity (public and private) and “incentivize” parking behaviors that can relieve congestion. Longer term options – such as building a sizable parking structure – are discussed and need to remain under consideration as potential future actions. However, such a facility would take years to complete from a practical perspective. This parking concept retains the potential benefits of longer term options, but focuses on actions that can be implemented in the near term and have material impact on the situation within 9-12 months of approval in a final form by Village Council.
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