Parking along G Avenue from 10th Street north to 16th is about to change.
The Douglas City Council unanimously agreed at its Jan. 8 regular monthly meeting to do away with parallel parking and go to angular parking, much like what is currently being done from Ninth and G, south.
Also, instead of two lanes for travel from 10th Street north, there will now be one lane in each direction. The only exception to this change is on the west side of G Avenue, from the Gadsden Hotel to the Douglas Visitor’s Center where that will remain parallel parking. The center turn lane on each block, will also remain in place and additional handicap spaces will also be added.
Peter Gardner, Douglas’ city planner, said a Downtown Revitalization Study and Plan was completed and adopted by the mayor and council in 2012.
“While the plan was adopted, it was never funded until the current Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget,” he said. Gardner added that in an effort to ensure public preferences and vision from 2010-12 were still valid. Four outreach meetings were held late last year at various locations around town. Staff took the information from those meetings and ranked them. Downtown parking was at the top.
Gardner says the reconfiguration will begin in the next few weeks and the change in parking should yield approximately 50 percent additional parking spaces for the public.
“This is something that a lot of business owners asked for,” he said. “All the business owners would like to see more parking in front of their business because there are concerns that when you go to a business and there is not parking nearby, you may just keep on driving and come back at another time. This way there should be a lot more parking for those downtown businesses.”
Alex Boneo, owner of the Blueberry Café on G Ave., says she is “overjoyed” about the change. Having fitness centers on the north side of her as well as directly across the street, she has been impacted by the parking headaches and estimated that eight out of 10 people who park in that block, are all clients of one of the two gyms.
“This is great,” she said. “Almost every other day I’ve had people tell me ‘I almost didn’t make it because I had no parking.’ I see this as an increase for people coming into my business. This has limited the availability of people to stop by. I’m very excited for all of us. I think this will make a big difference.”
Reyes Huerta, owner of Devore Auto Supply, said he’s also happy with the council’s decision. Huerta says he has seen a picture taken years ago when all of G Avenue had angular parking.
“I don’t mind it because it’s going to open more parking for us,” he said. “Growing up here, I still remember when it was angular parking.”
Scott Babicky of the American Legion said he has no problem with the change, but also added, the Legion has its own private parking lot.
Officials with the Mexican Consul, Borderland Auto, and Washington Federal chose not to comment when asked their thoughts on the switch.
The possibility of accidents from people backing out or not being aware of the parking change, was also addressed by the mayor and council. Gardener said it’s a matter of educating the public about the new changes, but in the end he sees it as a good thing and something a majority of the downtown merchants want.
In other action at the meeting, the top three winners of the Christmas Light Parade were honored. Unfortunately, none of them were in attendance to receive their trophy. Douglas Police Chief Kraig Fullen as well as Douglas Fire Chief Kevin Lomeli were recognized by Jose Grijalva, councilman for Ward 6.
Margaret Morales, council member for Ward 1, recognized the following businesses for their years of service to Douglas. Those honored were: Devore Auto Supply, 85 years; Cochise Supplies Inc., 45 years; Byrd’s Sheet Metal and Construction, and Dairy Queen of Douglas, each with 25 years of service; El Alamo Restaurant, 20 years; First Glass, 15 years; Best Western Inn Suites, 10 years, and Border Taco, five-years.
Two ordinances, one of which deals with the sale of land located on the 900 block of Second Street to Joseph L. and Maria de la Cruz Garcia, while the second ordinance dealt with adjusting the fees for the Douglas Visitors Center in order to recover operating costs, were approved, as were 13 different resolutions.
One of the resolutions that was passed allowed the authorization of an intergovernmental agreement between the City and the Douglas Unified School District for the purpose of providing paramedic/EMT and an animal control internship and externship experience to high school students in Douglas, while another agreed to promote rail service in the region as a means to increase tourism and foster economic development in Douglas.
For more on what happened at the meeting, click on https://www.douglasaz.gov/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2.