Parking plan doesn#8217;t line up

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2008

Proposed roadway changes around the Lawrence County Courthouse designed to address parking problems could backfire and create driving problems.

City and county leaders are looking at an idea that would make South Fourth Street one lane from Park Avenue to Center Street as a way to increase the number of parking spaces and improve the sidewalks.

While we appreciate this effort and believe that this is a problem that needs to be addressed, we haven’t seen any data that convinces us that this change will do anything to really address the issue. In fact, it could potentially create more dangerous problems with traffic bottlenecks and cars backing into traffic.

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Finding a parking spot has always been a problem near the courthouse and the parallel spots can be challenging for some to squeeze into, but we urge city and county leaders to get more information before making this change.

How many additional spots would this create? What does the ongoing KYOVA traffic study show about this? How will the county ensure that this just doesn’t become prime parking for courthouse employees? Are there other locations downtown that could be utilized for parking?

But perhaps the biggest issue with this proposal is that it seems to not make sense in terms of the logistics of how the courthouse is — and should be — accessed.

Although it is very picturesque, the Fourth Street side of the courthouse has absolutely no handicap accessibility. Why would the county want to put the bulk of the parking on that side of the building?

Plus, this would further force the county to continue to maintain full security at both entrances. Closing the Fourth Street entrance permanently could save more than $50,000 a year by creating a minor inconvenience.

Until this plan has been fully analyzed and these questions have been answered, we hope our city and county leaders park this idea in the proverbial garage.