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Council Hears Proposal For Downtown Parking - KOAM TV 7

Council Hears Proposal For Downtown Parking

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    The City of Joplin hears a proposal to redesign a section of Main Street in downtown to enhance parking.
Cunningham: "We've seen projects like this in other communities and we've seen them be successful, so, once the overlay was done, we kinda thought this is a temporary, quick, easy, cheap way to try something new."
    Taylor Cunningham is the assistant to the city manager, she also works with the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization.
    So, when it came to restructuring downtown to be more pedestrian and bike friendly, it came naturally to her.
    Cunningham: "We did a Twitter poll actually and said, 'hey, what do you want to see more of downtown', and outdoor dining was the number one thing and we had a lot of people wanting bike lanes."
    Lori Haun with the Downtown Joplin Alliance says parking has always been an issue, and she's glad the city is taking a look at ways to improve parking.
Haun: "I think the best part about this is that it is setup to be a pilot program, so this will be kinda a test phase, so we can see if it works, because, you know what, if it doesn't work, we're not committed to it, we're not married to it."
    But not everybody is on board.
    Mike Brandon owns a handful of buildings right around 6th and Main.
    While he sees there can be some benefits to the parking changes, there's other issues on his mind.
Brandon: "Once you take out two lanes and people have to wait on people to parallel park, it's going to cause a lot of congestion."
    Another part of the proposal includes adding 'pedestrian space' which would accommodate the outdoor dining, but Brandon says while outdoor dining would be very beneficial to downtown restaurants...
Brandon: "The truth is, even if you could get more people say at a restaurant sitting outside, all now we know is, we're going to need more parking for that restaurant than we ever did before which means less for everyone else."
    At the council meeting tonight, a number of council members expressed concerns feeling the project was 'rushed', after hearing discussion council has decided *not* to take any action at this time, but say this type of plan is what is needed to help develop downtown in the future.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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