EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- It has been five years since the city had a parking study to look at. Something that includes numbers, issues and ultimately recommendations for a change.
And so, the Engineering Department is in the beginning phases of getting a parking study off the ground.
"We've heard concerns that there isn't enough parking in downtown, and that helped us get city staff to get to do counts earlier this winter," said Dave Solberg, Eau Claire's City Engineer.
Solberg says engineering staff have already started gathering data to help evaluate what the current parking condition is in Eau Claire.
He says preliminary findings show there is parking available downtown, especially in the ramp. In fact, he says at most times, the ramp is only about 30% full.
But he adds this study will go beyond downtown. It will include areas between Dewey Street to the river and a large chunk of Madison Street to Emery Street.
The idea is planning for the future. That means also considering the Confluence Project.
"If the Confluence is a go at that time, we would be able to include some of the demands the confluence would have," he said. "If the Confluence ultimately is not selected to go forward, this study still needs to be done. We still need to see where Eau Claire is now and where we need to go in the future."
Benny Haas, owner of Pizza Plus, says he would like to see more people come downtown and utilize the ramp.
"I usually try to play devil’s advocate and say how far do you walk at the mall as opposed to downtown?" He said. If you take that into consideration there is plenty of parking."
John Barlow lives downtown and worries what will happen if more apartments and businesses are built.
"This area gets really booked up really fast, sometimes it's hard to find a spot during the day, especially the weekends, so it can be kind of tough," he added.