Lubbock Downtown Parking Task Force makes recommendations to City Council

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock citizens appointed to the Downtown Parking Task Force have submitted their list of suggestions to the Lubbock City Council, which they believe will make the experience better as Downtown Lubbock remains a focus of growth and revitalization.

“I’m excited about the growth that we’re seeing in Lubbock in general, and people are looking for that cultural center,” Chad Davis, Task Force Chairman, said. “Little by little, project by project, Lubbock downtown is coming back to life and it’s really exciting for all of us.”

The appointment of a task force was part of the Downtown Parking Master Plan, which the Lubbock City Council approved in April of 2022. The next month, each councilmember appointed a citizen from their district. Davis said the task force worked from June 2022 to March 2023. It first presented its recommendations to the Central Business District Tax Increment Financing (CBD TIF) Reinvestment Zone Board.

As studied for the development of the Master Plan, the task force also found there is no need for additional parking spaces but rather better utilization.

“Downtown Lubbock is about a mile by a mile when you look at it, and that’s also roughly the same area as downtown Houston,” Davis said. “Downtown Lubbock has more surface parking than even downtown Houston. Really, we do have an ample amount of parking. We didn’t see any emergency or immediate need, but we hope that we can share the parking that is down here a little more freely.”

Among 10 categories of recommendations, the task force suggests launching a shared parking program with private owners.

“We have a lot of surface parking in downtown Lubbock, but a lot of that parking is owned by private businesses,” Davis said. “If we could come up with a policy that would incentivize those private businesses to share that parking after hours, I think that would be the greatest asset to the community. We just need to make sure that it’s fair to the business owner, and certainly that safety is taken into consideration.”

Davis said the program could help pay for liabilities and upkeep of the parking spaces. It would be the only monetized parking suggested by the task force.

“If we are going to incentivize some of those private business owners to share their lots with us, they probably need to have some compensation for that, because there is going to be wear and tear and safety issues that they’re going to need to address as part of that,” Davis said.

The task force also recommended the City of Lubbock improve wayfinding and branding, like installing signage at all public parking lots, at entrances and corridors in downtown and develop brand standards for owners of those private lots.

It also asks the City to “enhance the pedestrian realm” by prioritizing the redevelopment of Broadway.

“To make Broadway work better, we need to reinvest in the pedestrian realm, which is the realm that connects the parking to the businesses,” Davis said. “It’s the sidewalks. It’s the lighting. It’s making those more inviting, making those safe, and making sure that the reinvestment and the activity down there is safe and inviting for people that may not always be able to park right at the front door.”

The task force also focused on the Depot District, with suggestions of better pedestrian lighting and parking lots or spaces for rideshare vehicles.

“More and more people are being more responsible, thinking about rideshare if they’re heading out for night,” Davis said. “Whenever they come out of an event, and there’s a lot of people and there’s a lot of congestion in the downtown streets, having designated areas for that rideshare to pick up people, maybe with enhanced lighting and some signage and maybe even some security, more people are encouraged to use rideshare, they can find it easily and can get in and out of a congested event pretty easily.”

Better coordination and communication of events in downtown was also a recommendation by the task force. That responsibility could fall under a downtown manager, another recommendation.

“With a lot of the redevelopment in downtown, with a lot of the things that are going on at LHUCA and Buddy Holly Hall, there are more and more businesses and more and more opportunities springing up in downtown that need some level of coordination,” Davis said. “That is a position that we really looked at and wanted to recommend to Council. It could be a shared cost maybe between Council and the Tax Increment Finance District, if possible.”

Shared costs, grant funding and funding through the CBD TIF were among suggestions by the task force for these projects. Davis said it will be up to the City of Lubbock to budget the projects, which will also determine the timing.

To view the list of recommendations, click here.

To see the Downtown Parking Master Plan, click here.