Springfield Seeks Feedback On Parking Changes, Other Downtown Projects

Feb 20, 2020

The city of Springfield is looking for feedback on proposals to change downtown parking. Three alternatives are on the table - installing meters that accept credit cards; removing meters in favor of kiosks; or using a mobile application drivers can use to locate and pay for parking.

The meters are outdated and revenue from them and parking garages has fallen in recent years. Mayor Jim Langfelder earmarked $175,000 for new meters in the upcoming budget, and the city received seven responses to a request for proposals to solve parking issues.

The city hasn’t done a cost analysis for the options yet, said city traffic engineer T.J. Heavisides at a public meeting Thursday night about changes to downtown traffic patterns.

“There is a lot of variability in costs in the proposals, so until we make a selection and see what blocks we do want to replace on, because we won’t replace all the meters,” he said. “We’d probably replace the core downtown area.”

That would be around 200 meters.

The city also has plans to install new traffic signals downtown, which will synchronize and allow for better flow of vehicles. At the same time, it wants to convert blocks of Fourth, Seventh and East Adams streets to accommodate two-way traffic.

Benjamin Long, a medical resident who often bikes to work, said he’s happy to see the plan includes signs instructing drivers to share the road.

“I think it’s definitely a plus over the way it is now,” he said. “My hope is that it makes drivers more aware that bicycles are allowed to use the full lane under Illinois law.”

Still, he’s concerned some bikers still might use those streets because they don’t have a dedicated lane.

Heavisides said the proposal includes dedicated lanes on short stretches of Fourth and Seventh. But he said the proposal does not include funding to widen the lanes, which would be the way to include dedicated bike lanes. The cost to replace aging traffic signals and convert streets is around $4 million.

For information on the proposals and to give your opinion – visit the city’s website.