Franklin Town Council Discusses Parking, Positive Response to New Pattern

Since mid-March, the Town of Franklin has been conducting a downtown parking trial to come up with the best parking option for Main Street, striving to find a solution that would be safer for pedestrians and easier for motorists. Temporary lines changing the north side of Main Street from the corner at Patton Avenue to the downtown square to parallel parking instead of the former angled parking have been in place for a 90-day parking trial.

At the July meeting of the Franklin Town Council, Town Planner Justin Setser and Town Engineer Nathaniel Moore presented the results of the downtown parking trial. Following the presentation, the town council voted unanimously to move forward with making changes to the downtown parking. All Town Council members expressed that they have received overwhelming positive response to the parking change.

The town will replace the temporary tape lines with a more semi-permanent option of painted lines over the next few weeks. In addition, the town gave their approval to begin working on a final plan for the downtown area with plans to try parallel parking on the south side of Main Street as well as the design and layout of bulb outs and improved crosswalks. The town will also look at extending the parallel parking on the right side of Main Street in front of the courthouse to Harrison Avenue.

The town is hoping to complete changes to the downtown parking at the same time the North Carolina Department of Transportation has scheduled the repaving of Main Street.  For this to happen the town will have to have some sort of concrete plan in place if they want to make changes at the same time as the NCDOT project.

Since there is a deadline to get the two projects coordinated, the town will need to make final decisions soon about the downtown parking. In addition, Setser and Moore will need time to finalize the design and layout of the total project in time to start the project in the fall with a spring completion date.

The town council will need to decide what type of parking pattern they want on Main Street. The design and layout of the bulb out lanes will depend on the type of parking pattern the town chooses for Main Street.

During the parking trial, the town also conducted a survey with citizens, merchants and visitors to give everyone the opportunity to comment on and make suggestions on the parallel parking options.

Forty-seven surveys were completed with 33 positive responses in favor of the parking layout and design in the parking trial. Thirteen responses were negative stating they preferred the original layout, and one response suggested there should not be any parking on Main Street.

Suggestions submitted on the completed surveys included parallel parking on both sides, more greenspace and improved visibility of crosswalks. Several surveys suggested better handicap signage for Main Street, an issue the town has already addressed.

Several surveys stated they liked the wider range of travel with the parallel parking. In addition, several also stated that they felt there were still issues with long trucks and vans parking on the angled parking on the left side of Main Street.

Town council members stated the parallel parking has provided safer crosswalks for pedestrians. According to Moore, there have not been any issues and no fender benders or accidents during the 90 days of the parking trial.