New Ideas to Find A Spot

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Last week 23 News introduced you a potential problem in downtown Rockford. As more and more businesses boom and residents move in where will all the cars go?

Scott Long who heads the planning committee with the River District says, "There is an overabundance of public parking but the problem is it's not in the correct area."

And that's what business owners that are in the 500 block of East State Street are worried about. Where can customers park? If you look on a map of downtown Rockford you will see that there are 18 total surface parking lots and 4 parking garages. But there is only one small parking garage on the east side of the river. But in the next five years you can expect to see development in every direction.

Long says, "If Madison develops into a commercial, residential, and retail district you are going to need 2 or 3 high density parking lots."

High density parking lots are like the one across from the Coronado theatre. Long has provided the City of Rockford with numerous suggestions. The city has also done some independent studies.

Long says, "The city is working on it but it's going to take some big investments. Parking garages aren't cheep we have to get away with surface lots and on street parking. We won't get a lot unless we tear buildings down and close streets off."

Long has suggested that the hotel next to the midway would be a great spot for a parking garage. That location could east the Block 5 back-up. Another idea would be to add on more levels to the Market Street Cafe parking deck. Knowing the downtown area is going to be important for all of us because with all the downtown residential development that means more people. More people means less spots for the rest os us to use.

The River District is also looking at adding accent lights to buildings. Plans are still being finalized to build a Riverwalk.