READING, Pa. – "A general disregard for rules and regulations" — that's just an excerpt from one observation a parking design firm shared with Reading City Council members in an effort to find ways to organize a city lacking enough parking spots.
"Of course, the lack of supply of off-street parking, particularly in the neighborhoods, drives some of these behaviors," said Gregory Shumate, a parking specialist at Desman Design Management, a firm which specializes in parking consulting, design, planning and restoration.
The study conducted by the firm used drones to analyze three square miles, or around 16,000 acres of dense city streets. The probe identified issues such as double-parking, unsafe parking garages and not enough enforcement of parking laws.
"Clearly enforcement is probably the only thing that can be done besides trying to find more off-street parking and I know the authority plans to expand its enforcement unit," Shumate said.
The study also identified a section of space near Culvert and Spring Garden streets as a potential spot for additional off street parking.
"From a design or planning standpoint, I think it might be worthwhile for the city to consider stepping in and imposing some controls over private parking lots and off-street lots," Shumate suggested.
Councilmember Stratton Marmarou highlighted ongoing enforcement issues and Councilmember Donna Reed expressed some skepticism, explaining that there have been numerous other studies over the years and the suggestions don't always come to fruition.
"I think no matter what comes out of this, unless we look at this as a multi-pronged, multi-faceted approach situation that isn't short term but long term, with all due respect, this is gonna be another study that sits on the shelf," Reed said.
The group plans to hold virtual community forums starting Aug. 3 to hear from residents and businesses about what they feel needs to be done.