Planners complete Ludlow study; City to review recommendations

PDS staff completed the Ludlow Parking Lot Study late last month. Ludlow’s City Administration requested the study earlier this year, with the expressed goal of identifying the most effective way to expand parking availability within its Elm Street business district.

The study identified empty lots well-suited for conversion to parking lots, existing private parking lots that may be candidates for shared parking arrangements, and parking management techniques that can increase the number of parking spaces currently available. These three options for creating additional public parking spaces should be adequate for addressing Ludlow’s parking needs into the future.

Two of the four empty lots identified for conversion into parking lots are located in the business district and, together, could provide approximately 36 spaces. The other two empty lots are located within a short distance of the business district and provide a combined total of approximately 80 spaces.

The study also recommended that the City of Ludlow pursue a shared parking agreement with the owners of two parking lots located just south of the business district. Those agreements would allow the city access to the parking lots when they are not being used by the owners, providing the city with approximately 35 additional parking spaces.

Parking management techniques discussed in the study include striping parking spaces along Elm Street within the business district. Proper street parking-space striping creates uniform, right-sized parking spaces and eliminates the wide gaps between parked cars that can waste valuable space.

Another parking management technique recommended by the study is the establishment of time limits for parking spaces within the business district. Time limits encourage individuals to use business district parking spaces for short-term business needs only, which would allow more vehicles to park in the district throughout the day.

PDS staff also recommended that the city place wayfinding signs in strategic locations to direct users to public parking lots. Wayfinding signs direct users to facilities of interest and amenities and when placed correctly, these signs can provide a convenient guide to drivers without cluttering the streetscape with too many signs. The study offers suggestions for where the city might place these signs for the best impact.

The Ludlow Parking Lot Study provides Ludlow City Administration with the information it needs when determining how best to invest in the city’s current and future parking needs. As cities seek to expand their business centers, finding effective ways to serve the increased vehicular traffic that accompanies that expansion becomes a vital concern. By leveraging the ideas and recommendations presented in the Ludlow Parking Lot study, the City of Ludlow can efficiently acquire additional parking spaces that will help accommodate residents and welcome visitors to Ludlow’s increasingly active business district.