Downtown Parking and Management District

Cars are parked along Koch Street Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, near downtown Bozeman. The city is considering approving a Downtown Parking and Management District that would extend into the neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtown.

As more development arrives in downtown Bozeman, city officials are considering creating paid parking and permits to park around its core.

On Monday, the Bozeman City Commission will consider establishing a Downtown Parking Management District with parking zones to restrict on-street parking primarily to those who live in houses on the edge of downtown.

Commissioners could also authorize the Bozeman Parking Commission to create, change or do away with the zones.

“The Bozeman Parking Commission recognizes that on-street parking resources should be shared by multiple user groups (residents, customers, employees) in order to protect and enhance the vitality of the downtown business core and residential neighborhoods while using public resources efficiently,” according to city staff documents headed before commissioners.

The change would widen the parking commission’s oversight beyond downtown’s main core, extending their authority by roughly 1,000 feet in every direction.

The zones are intended to make enough money to cover their own operational and enforcement costs through on-street parking permits and paid, timed parking.

The parking commission held three public forums to get input on the zones’ framework

The permits would favor residents in downtown’s bordering neighborhoods. City staff have recommended if commissioners approve the zones, they issue one residential permit per house. Each residence could buy up to two visitor permits.

After some residents worried there wouldn’t be enough spots on the streets, staff also recommended prohibiting selling the on-street resident parking permits to people in apartments.

However, the new rule would allow commuters to buy permits for the area, though those slots would be limited and priced higher than for those living in the neighborhoods.

The move follows years of growth within Bozeman’s downtown that has put more pressure on parking in the area, especially for the neighborhoods abutting downtown.

City staff say the change to managing parking aligns with a nearly four-year-old plan.

The 2016 Downtown Strategic Parking Management Plan recommended the city of Bozeman “explore changes to existing residential on-street parking permit programs and evaluate and potentially implement new residential parking permit districts in the neighborhood north and south of the downtown commercial district.”

According to the draft document, the parking commissioner would notify people living within the proposed zone before it’s created. A petition signed by 60% of property owners within the proposed area could initiate the process to create, change or dissolve the zone.

Katheryn Houghton can be reached at khoughton@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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