Bel Air report predicts parking shortage

Town Center will require 850 new spaces, study says

July 25, 2004|By Artika Rangan | Artika Rangan,SUN STAFF

Downtown Bel Air will experience a parking shortage of more than 800 spaces within the next five to 10 years, according to the Bel Air Town Center Parking Study's summary report.

The study, released July 14, found that numerous projects in the Town Center will increase parking demands in the area. Such projects include a new District Court building, Board of Education building, Bel Air Cultural Arts complex, Ropewalk Tavern and an office building on South Main Street.

Bel Air currently has about 4,585 public and private parking spaces ---- a surplus of 51 spaces, according to the report.

The study determined the parking requirement by dividing the square footage of all the Town Center's current buildings by a 250-square-foot standard.

After all new construction is completed in 10 years, the report states, only 4,552 parking spaces will be available in the Town Center, resulting in a parking deficit of 850 spaces.

Jeremy Rowan, Bel Air economic development administrator, said a private consulting firm will evaluate the study in the fall and make recommendations based on its findings.

"We're providing the background and letting the consultants draw their conclusions," he said.

The town will wait for the consulting firm's recommendations before creating any new parking lots or garages. Rowan expects the consultants to finish their report by the end of the year.

The town of Bel Air and the Harford County government will fund the study.

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