Downtown Monroe parking and transportation study in the works - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Downtown Monroe parking and transportation study in the works

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Monroe city leaders admit, parking downtown can be a headache and the city bus system could run more efficiently. That's why leaders are searching for answers to the problems. Those two questions that could soon be answered in a study that the city council gave the green light to in February of 2012.

Monroe transit manager Chris Phelps says in two weeks they will begin seeking out companies to conduct that report. "It kind of backs up and looks at the whole picture and says here is what we can do." The study will first analyze the need for more downtown parking and secondly, look at the operational aspect of the bus service. It will evaluate everything from hours to fare prices and specific routes.

"It would really benefit the transit riders, it would really benefit the folks coming downtown to the different events, RiverMarket for one and there would be ample and sufficient parking," said Phelps. $100,000.00 in federal money has been set aside for the study since 2009 and Phelps says this project has been a long time in the making.

If more parking is found necessary, Phelps says the city wants to build a multi-use parking facility. The study is the first step to win state or federal funds to pay for it. "We would move our transfer terminal to that facility, have parking, mixed use retail, that type of stuff," said Phelps, and says he hopes to have a consulting company selected and recommended to the mayor and council by early May. He also wants to have the study completed by the end of August.

City leaders say whoever conducts the parking study will likely work together with the firm doing the arena study, to make sure they are on the same page.

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