Provo begins parking overhaul initiative

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Provo citizens provide input on the problems facing downtown parking. BYU parking in particular is a perpetual issue for students and people living in surrounding neighborhoods. (Jackson Hadley)

Provo city planners invited the public to attend a meeting at the city building Thursday evening, where they provided an overview of the plan to modernize Provo’s parking and urban access.

The project aims to solve problems with parking and access for downtown Provo, BYU and surrounding neighborhoods.

“The whole concept of enhancing the downtown experience is really important to us,” said Dennis Burns, regional vice president of Kimley-Horn, the design firm managing the project. “Parking (used to be) very dull, very gray. … Now, it’s amazing to see the changes that are happening.”

Burns presented examples of elements that are being incorporated into the project, including enhanced bike and pedestrian access, multi-use parking facilities and electric car charging stations.

The first phase of the initiative is gathering data and feedback from the community on the problems of Provo parking.

“We’re really emphasizing getting everyone’s voices heard,” said Vanessa Solesbee, president of The Solesbee Group communications consulting firm. “We’re going to be doing more (public) meetings, an online town hall forum … (and) small group meetings with a variety of different stakeholders.”

Provo citizens at the meeting voiced information about the parking problems that have irked them for years.

“Parking (is) the only downside of moving to Provo seven years ago,” said a man who lives a block away from BYU campus.

“We’re tired of having our driveways blocked, tired of people (parking) on the sidewalk, (leaving) vehicles on the city street for six weeks a time,” said another.

Another public input meeting will be held in December, and city planners aim to have the research complete by early March 2015.

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