Cedar Falls faces parking woes, consultants to the rescue

29 January 2019 Consulting.us 2 min. read
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Cedar Falls, Iowa has a parking problem, and consulting firm WGI is on the case.

WGI performed an online survey with approximately 2,600 respondents and observed the city’s vehicle parking situation for nearly four months. The firm then came to a shocking conclusion: Cedar Falls needs more parking spaces – 17, to be exact, at least for the short-term. Ideally these would be parallel parking spaces on the side of the city’s State Street. 

Andy Miller, senior project manager for WGI, suggested that city officials work with private lots to allow evening parking for the public. “That’s when the demand is greatest,” he said in an interview with Eastern Iowa’s KWWL television station. 

Time-limited parking – there are signs limiting parking to two hours in Cedar Rapids’ downtown area, for example – must be addressed and adjusted accordingly, Miller said. “Main Street stays two hours, but other side streets right off Main Street can go up to three hours, and then beyond the three-hour zones have no time limits. And allow people to park overnight on some of the side streets because I think that would probably provide some relief for apartment dwellers,” he said. 

Looking deeper into the future, there is a need for a public parking project such a dedicated parking structure, or parking garage. City officials might also consider low-rate paid parking in city lots. “It wouldn’t be individual meters, it would be pay stations,” Miller said. 

Miller will present the findings of WGI’s study to the Cedar Rapids city council on February 18. 

Parking woes aren’t the only issues facing US cities and states. Big moves must be made to prepare for the growing number of electric (EV) and autonomous vehicles (AV), such as the wide-scale deployment of battery charging stations. A report by management consulting giant Boston Consulting Group found that autonomous vehicles could increase traffic in Boston’s downtown area, causing congestion and increasing travel times, both problems that require a great deal of planning if they are to be effectively handled.

Internationally, electric companies are scrambling to adjust and rearrange infrastructure to account for increased demand on their systems, thanks to an influx of EVs. The International Energy Agency predicts that there will be 125 million EVs on the roads worldwide by 2030.