Proposed Shoppes of Avondale parking study awaits city action: Parking analysis service could cost city $60K

By Steve DiMattia

It could cost the City of Jacksonville $60,000 to conduct a parking study in the Shoppes of Avondale according to a Scope of Services for Parking Analysis prepared by local planning and engineering firm Ghyabi & Associates.

The scope is dated May 24 and was delivered to the Planning and Development Department more than a month ago — but it has not been vetted or approved nor has a timeline yet been established for doing so, said department head Calvin Burney in an email.

“Some people may get frustrated by the process, but you have to consider the necessary time spent up front to make sure you have the framework laid down,” Burney said in a previous conversation. “If you don’t put the thought into it up front then you risk not getting it right. You want something that is going to be beneficial to the area.”

A scope of services helps to define components that the city might like to address in a study, said Martha Moore, an associate with Ghyabi, which has an open-ended consulting contract with the city.

The scope identified seven basic areas of focus: Land use inventory, parking inventory, parking utilization/turn over study, parking demand, traffic circulation, community outreach and best practices.

“There are so many issues to look at, so you talk with the client and see what limitations they want to put on the scope and study,” Moore said.

One limitation imposed here was the boundaries of the study area: The Shoppes of Avondale – Van Wert Avenue (west), Edgewood Avenue (east), Oak Street (north), and Hedrick Avenue (south). Burney said that while these are the areas that were originally discussed, the boundary areas for the ultimate study have not been finalized.

Love, who had not seen the scope as of July 18, said that he would prefer a wider area be studied and felt that $60,000 might be high for just Avondale.

“If we want to put in a scope for a wider area, we have to do it soon because when I last talked to Calvin [Burney] he told me that we have money budgeted for this fiscal year, but maybe not next,” Love said. This fiscal year ends September 30. Burney said that he and Love would be “getting together soon” but no date has been set.

Burney said in his email, “Price will be determined by the depth of the scope.” In a previous conversation he said, “Once we get the scope, we will have a better idea of cost and the time frame for implementation as well as what parts of it we want to implement.”

Steve Diebenow, attorney for Mellow Mushroom, which is currently working through the process to develop a restaurant in the Shoppes of Avondale, said the restaurant has offered to help pay for a study. “We offered to incur some of the costs but no one has taken us up on the offer.” Diebenow also had not seen the scope as of July 18 and noted that Mellow Mushroom was not involved in the process but welcomes a study.

“A parking study is something everyone seems to agree should happen for The Shoppes of Avondale,” Diebenow said.

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