Let’s hope not! But it’s hard to tell from tonight’s agenda packet if that’s the case or not. The Town is paying consulting firm VHB what appears to be over $120,000 (the link loads a PDF, see page 4 of 5 for Planning Department Budget) to conduct the now-underway Carrboro Parking Study. That’s not the problem- this study has been needed for many years and is already producing some good information about the real (and imaginary) access and parking challenges that downtown Carrboro faces.
But one would think that before the town makes any additional major decisions about parking in Downtown, we would wait to see the results of that study to make sure that any actions taken are both in keeping with a broader, strategic goal and also, the best use of town funds.
Unfortunately, in tonight’s Board Packet, agenda Item 16-092 (see page 17 of 65) asks the Aldermen to discuss a leasing arrangement for parking at 300 East Main St. The item has virtually zero information and no clear recommendation, so it’s nearly impossible to tell what the staff goal is here. That said, it seems like right now would be the WORST possible time to make any decision about the Town’s parking lease at 300 East Main St, since we are on the cusp of having some of the most important insights about parking in Carrboro in over a decade.
Let’s not waste the considerable amount of money we’re spending on an important parking study by pre-empting its results and taking hasty action on an item that the public can not even discern the nature of from the agenda packet. I urge the Aldermen not to take any action on this item, and to encourage the staff to be more specific about proposals coming to their table.