Temporary light rail parking in Downtown Mesa could become permanent - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Temporary light rail parking in Downtown Mesa could become permanent

City of Mesa considers keeping color-coded parking lots

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 4:49 am | Updated: 7:31 pm, Wed Jun 26, 2013.

Due in part to its popularity among the public, the City of Mesa is considering making the temporary four color-coded parking lots a permanent part of the downtown landscape.

Located behind businesses along Main Street and between Robson and Center Streets, the free lots — demarcated by the colors tan, orange, purple and green — were implemented as a way to compensate for obstructed parking caused by ongoing light rail construction and infrastructure improvements in downtown Mesa. Natalie Lewis, assistant to the Mesa city manager, said the goal was to ensure parking in downtown was simple for motorists, which is one of the reasons the color-coded system was selected for the lots.

“We’ll use everything we can to make it as easy as possible,” she said.

Since their inception, Lewis said the lots — they’re generally located along 1st Avenue and 1st Street, each a block to the north and south of Main Street — have been “well-received” by the public, which could be a factor in the city’s decision-making process if it decides to make the lots permanent. That decision is a little ways down the road, as she said the implementation and long-term prospects of the parking lots are part of a three-phase project.

Phase one, Lewis said, was the installation of the lots on a temporary basis to provide downtown access. Phase two involves tinkering with the lots, with options including extending the signs out to draw more attention to them. The final step coincides with three studies to determine the lots’ viability.

“It’s an evolving process,” she said.

Downtown Mesa executive director David Short, whose organization is working with the city to operate the lots, said another step in the tinkering process included adding the color coded lots into Google Maps. That process, which he said required reviewers to verify the existence of the parking lots, allows people to search for a specific lot, for example the purple, in the search engine and get directions to it.

For people who prefer to use a more traditional locator, Short said the organization has “old-school paper maps” printed as well.

“We have all scenarios available,” he said.

One of the benefits Short mentioned about the lots is how it takes advantage of a city feature, in this case the back lots behind businesses, that is convenient for customers and have been in existence for years. In fact, Short said the color-coded lots are at least as easy, “if not easier,” for potential consumers to garner access to Mesa businesses.

“They (customers) want to see where they’re going, park and see the front door,” he said.

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