CEDAR FALLS — A passionate group of Cedar Falls business owners and residents came to a public presentation about a parking study of the downtown district.
The presentation focused on a recent online survey about Cedar Falls parking and explained how the study is being conducted by Wantman Group Inc. The study had 2,678 total responses. Almost everyone at the meeting had filled out the online survey.
The consensus of the crowd and the study is that downtown Cedar Falls doesn’t have enough parking.
“We’re going to do two total workshops,” said Andy Miller, an urban planner with WGI. “We had a tremendous response from the survey we did. It shows a lot of people are passionate about parking in downtown Cedar Falls.”
Attending were several city officials, including City Council members Dave Wieland, Mark Miller, Daryl Kruse and Frank Darrah.
“I appreciated the candid feedback from all the merchants and retailers down here,” Kruse said. “I’m very optimistic about the skills that the company is bringing to the parking issue.”
After the WGI presentation, Andy Miller took questions for about an hour.
Ivan Wieland, owner of the Horny Toad, and restaurateur Darin Beck both voiced concern and asked questions about the loss of parking spots downtown. Wieland said he had lost at least 60 parking spots due to new apartment developments in the area taking up a nearby lot.
WGI’s Miller emphasized he didn’t have solutions to present during the meeting. The study will formulate suggestions, he said.
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“It’s going to take everyone working together, including the city,” he said.
Throughout the meeting, references were made to a 2014-2015 parking study by Community Main Street volunteers. Dawn Wilson, owner of Cup of Joe, helped with that study.
“I think he’s right on point with everything,” she said.
The downtown district has added major developments since then, she noted.
“When we did the study back in 2014 and 2015, we were projecting to have these developments in here,” Wilson said. “We were trying to be ahead of the eight ball rather than behind the eight ball.”
Andy Miller has been sitting down with restaurant owners, residents and developers to get an idea about what parking needs are.
“That’s what makes coming up with solutions so difficult, because you have so many disparate parts and different kind of constituencies’ downtown,” Miller said.
Most at the meeting expressed a high opinion of downtown. They just think it needs more parking.
“I just think our downtown is a wonderful place to be,” Wilson said.