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Downtown Joplin Alliance Conducts Parking Survey - KOAM TV 7

Downtown Joplin Alliance Conducts Parking Survey

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Parking is an issue that has plagued Joplin's downtown in the past.

Solutions included removing islands to create spaces, removing meters and adding permits.

Now the Downtown Joplin Alliance is conducting a survey to see if people want more free, unlimited parking. 

Business owner Matt Johnson says yes. "It's very stressful  trying to find a parking spot downtown," said Johnson.

Johnson operates a website design and software business on Joplin's main street but says even with a conference room,  he hesitates to bring clients here. He says, "We generally decide to go eat lunch somewhere else because if our client parks on Main street and they're going to meet with us for an hour after lunch, they'll likely be faced with a ticket."

Midwestern Interactive  isn't the only business sharing concerns with the Downtown Joplin Alliance. So its conducting a survey to see if parking parameters need changing.

Executive director Callie Hudson says, “The survey asks, do you support free  and unlimited parking, yes or no.  It's pretty simple. It's nine questions."

Some have already sent in comments saying totally free parking could  create chaos and  some restaurant customers tell us  two hours is enough.

Mary Bourne says, "I really don't stay longer than two hours cause its mostly eating meals."

Bre Farmer says, "I wish  there wasn't a time limit on it but it's a small confined area, so I'm kind of understanding about it."

Joplin's downtown parking is free for two hours on Main street  and two or three hours on lots, if not already reserved for permit buying businesses. Those fees bring the city nearly seventeen thousand dollars every three months.

Guy Voltz who owns CellphonCell phonedowntown buys spaces for employees. He says, "It's costing  us hundreds of dollars per month to have people working for us."

And Voltz says there's a big imbalance with too many permit spaces.

"We have so many permit parking places  the customers and citizen of Joplin cannot come down here  and have a leisurely lunch do shopping etcetera."

   There are parking lots behind businesses on the west side of Main but those also have limitations. Permit spaces and two hour free spaces. While some businesses buy permit spaces for company vehicles they say parking is a hassle for employees. 

Floyd Hackett who owns Hackett's Hot Wings says, "Most of them work four or five  hours. They go outside on break and move their vehicle to another parking space and  try not to get a ticket."

The current no meters but parking time limits were put in place around 2005. And the city manager agrees it's time to review what works.

Sam Anselm says, "Any opportunity to look at ideas  that can help downtown be successful is  something I want to investigate and explore as well as any barriers or obstacles that might keep downtown from growing  into what it can be."

To take the survey click here
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