NSB Commission Approves Parking Consultant
Parking in urban areas can be a problem for residents and businesses. But when that urban area is also a beachside tourist destination, the issues are even more complicated. To align resident concerns, business needs and implement recommendations from a city task force, New Smyrna Beach city commissioners approved a measure to spend $83,330 to a consultant.
The agreement with Ormond Beach consultant LTG Engineering & Planning includes several specific tasks, including overseeing the project kick off and coordination, data collection and research, exploration of a payment system pilot program, community outreach and engagement, provide final recommendations and an implementation plan and to establish a mobility department in the city.
“We are trying to come up with an action plan for the recommendations from the Task Force,” said City Manager Khalid Resheidat.
Asked about the cost of the consultant, Resheidat said the proposal from LTG was less than anticipated.
“My expectation was in the range of $100,000 to $125,000,” Resheidat said. “So I think (LTG) has provided a well-detailed proposal for a reasonable cost.”
Commissioner Lisa Martin said the data collection process needs to factor in the seasonality of parking issues, specifically during high tourism periods.
“Where we start that baseline for analysis is a very important component,” she said, adding that activity on the beachside on a Saturday morning in July is different than a Saturday in March.
Resheidat said city staff can work with the consultant on the data collection piece.
“The direction of the commission was ‘Let’s get this as quickly as possible,’” he said. “If you want to wait for the data to be collected in July, that can be done. That is something we can discuss with (them).”
Responding to a question from Martin about ongoing funding to sustain the recommendations, including the mobility department, Resheidat said the city’s parking fund is in good shape.
“If you look at the parking fund, it has been healthy just on off-beach parking and on the boat ramps,” he said. “I think funding the department if we come up with an action plan to expand our services and our paid parking, that would probably be paid for by itself.”
Commissioner Jason McGurk had a more fundamental concern about commissioning another consultant report.
“I just want to make the point we create a lot of studies,” he said. “I’m not excited about spending another $83,000 on another study. What I want to see from this is action.”
Mayor Fred Cleveland said the city needs to find solutions to the parking issues it faces.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said. “Residents want us to do something. The business owners want us to do something.”