Does Downtown Pensacola Need More Parking? Maybe. Probably Not.
Faced with a potential shortage of parking spaces with the continuing growth of its downtown, the city of Pensacola is looking at potential solutions before a parking crunch begins impacting downtown businesses and visitors. Will Isern of the Pensacola News-Journal reports that the study, titled "Parking Strategies as a Catalyst to Economic Development," found that the majority of downtown's 20,853 parking spaces are private spaces—tied up for use by private businesses and in only one area of the city's downtown does the demand currently outstrip the supply. It also identified that the city did a poor job of identifying available parking locations.
Isern reports that the study recommended the construction of a new downtown parking garage to meet the anticipated growth in Pensacola's downtown. However, the up-front costs for the structure would be significant. Alternative solutions include offering alternative modes of transit, including a bike share system or trolley service. As the study notes:
"Decreasing the demand for parking in a downtown area does not mean decreasing the demand to visit downtown areas... The high parking demand is a result of being automobile dependent. Promoting and increasing the use of transportation options, such as transit, bicycling, and walking, will decrease the demand on parking spaces."