Berlin Likely To Budget Funds For Parking Study

BERLIN – As residents continue to express concerns regarding parking and accessibility in Berlin, officials say they’re working to find a solution.

At Monday’s meeting of the Berlin Town Council, Councilman Zack Tyndall told his peers he’d heard from residents worried about the accessibility of certain streets in town during special events. He said that when vehicles were parked on both sides of certain streets, emergency vehicles could have trouble accessing certain neighborhoods.

Mayor Gee Williams said the town would be making an effort to address those concerns this year.

“I’m hopeful the majority of the community will support us as we begin looking at a variety of things,” he said.

At least two initiatives are already underway. In an interview this week, Williams said he was in the process of talking to certain property owners regarding a potential partnership with the town.

“I’m very pleased with the reception I’ve had so far,” he said, adding that what he envisioned was converting underused property into parking space. “Working in partnership we can get that done.”

Though the lack of available parking in the downtown area has been a problem for a few years, Williams said the time was now right to address the issue.

“I haven’t had one person say we don’t need more parking,” he said.

While his conversations with property owners might identify space that could be used for parking in the near future, the town is also pursuing other options. Williams said the town wanted to increase parking in an economically feasible yet sustainable way.

“I don’t think just one solution will fix the problem for any long period of time,” he said, adding that even a parking garage wouldn’t be a complete cure to the town’s issue. “That might be part of the solution but it’s not the whole solution.”

According to Town Administrator Laura Allen, the municipality will also commission a parking study in the coming year. She said it would determine how much of a need there was for parking.

“The plan is to put some money in the budget for a parking study,” she said.

Allen said she was currently researching the potential costs of a parking study so that funding could be included in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.