It’s perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of living in the city of Davis:
When, on a Friday night, plans to head downtown to take in some art, or to sit down for a bite to eat or to do a little shopping have to be scrapped because, after 15 minutes of reconnaissance, a parking spot can’t be found.
A local group has set out, however, to find solutions to the over-congestion and the difficulty of parking in the Core Area at certain times.
And they hope to have answers by the end of the summer.
The Downtown Parking Task Force, appointed by the City Council in October, met for the second time Thursday in the Davis Veterans Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St., to continue that journey.
When the city’s leaders cobbled the committee together, they charged them with several tasks: to devise a parking management plan, to give advice on the use of existing and potentially future parking structures and to assess whether more or less paid parking is necessary, among other things.
Councilman Lucas Frerichs is really looking for the team to provide him and his colleagues with some tangible direction.
“I am hopeful that the parking task force will provide the council a roadmap, moving forward, that contains options (or) solutions for the near and long-term,” Frerichs said in an email to The Enterprise.
The group will meet every first Wednesday of the month for about the next six months at 6:30 p.m. in the Davis Senior Center. The next meeting is on Feb. 6.
The meetings will not be televised or recorded for future broadcast.
All documents, including the presentations of previous downtown parking studies conducted by the city of Davis — which were presented to the task force Thursday — can be found on the Downtown Parking Task Force’s website under “On-Going Committees” at www.cityofdavis.org.
After two informational meetings, the committee will dive into the meat of its work in February when it starts with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the parking situation downtown.
During this meeting, the group will attempt to identify precisely what parking problems exist in the Core Area.
Councilman Brett Lee, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said he hopes that more of the community will come and be involved in the overall process.
“The downtown is such an important part of the community,” Lee said after the meeting. “(Through this process) we’re going to have a really good plan, short-term, medium-term and long-term that will make it easier for the downtown to thrive.”
The city staff assigned to the task force have listed the possible outcomes they hope to achieve through a parking management plan, including the improvement of parking convenience for locals and visitors, to offer more parking options and to ensure that the downtown remains a competitive attraction for the city.
Matt Kowta, who was named chairman of the committee at the first session in December, said after Thursday’s meeting that he believes this group can accomplish all of their goals in the six months the council has given them.
“I think we can,” Kowta said. “Staff did a good job putting the schedule together so we can get there.”
Notes: The membership includes Jennifer Anderson, co-owner of Davis Ace, and Amanda Kimball, UC Davis, appointed by Frerichs; Robb Davis of Davis Bicycles! and Michael Bisch, co-president of Davis Downtown, appointed by Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk; Johannes Troost, a Finance and Budget Commission member, and Rosalie Paine, owner of nestware, appointed by Lee; Steve Tracy, a local transportation planner and member of Davis Bicycles!, and Kowta, appointed by Mayor Joe Krovoza; and Lynne Yackzan, a local businesswoman, and Sara Granda, appointed by Rochelle Swanson; and Alzada Knickerbocker, owner of the Avid Reader, appointed by the full council.
— Reach Tom Sakash at email@example.com or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash