R1 Planning Council given $160k grant to study its Modernized Parking plan

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 12:52 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford residents could see more parking availability around the region in the next 10 years with a new re-imagining plan for parking.

“I’ve been working downtown collectively for 20 years and it’s always been like an issue,” said Patrick Alberto, owner of Octane restaurant in Rockford.

“I had to park my car up front but you can’t leave it for too long or else it will get a ticket. And so I just had to move my car two spaces down,” said Angel Dufoe who runs Inzombia Coffee shop in Rockford.

Parking issues seem to plague Rockford businesses and residents, whether it’s finding a spot or keeping one, parking your car isn’t an easy task.

“Some parking lots around here if people pass like a parking spot or there is no parking on the road they have to swoop around the building,” said Dufoe.

Dufoe admits that parking can get especially bad on event nights or weekend events. However, all of that could soon be left in the rearview mirror. Region One Planning Council was given a more than $160,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Those funds will be used to create an updated study to see if the parking plan will even work.

“Seeing more people want to live down town versus work down town that’s changed parking habits and parking behaviors. We’re trying to cultivate more store fronts in both Belvedere and Rockford, what is the off street and on street capacity for that,” said Michael Dunn, the executive director for R1.

The R1 Modernized Parking plan will actually examine parking costs, current state of parking in the Rockford region and any recommendations that residents may have.

“Elements for electric vehicles, possible at-ominous vehicles in the future, so looking at how can we start to prepare our region for those types of vehicles,” said Sydney Turner, the planning and development director with R1.

“Yeah I’m actually thrilled that they’re even in the conversation. It’s long overdo,” said Alberto.

He wishes R1 would take the old, abandoned buildings and turn them into parking spots.