ELKHART – It looks like an experiment in downtown Elkhart, to add more parking spaces, will become permanent.
This past summer, the city switched several blocks of Main Street from parallel to angled parking.
That added more than four dozen places to park.
The city says it took awhile but feels drivers on Main Street have gotten use to angled parking along a five-block area, north of the railroad tracks by the Post Office.
As a result, Main in the affected areas went from four lanes to two to accommodate the move, a move that would hopefully help bring more foot traffic to downtown businesses.
“The reason was to get people to notice our downtown with angled parking and going to two lanes, the mayor felt, like it would slow the traffic down, people would stop and look, and it also would bring more business, we thought, downtown,” said mayor’s Executive Assistant Arvis Dawson.
The move by Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore to make it happen received some concerns at first, but those concerns have lessened. As a result, he is leaning toward making it permanent.
"We have received positive response from citizens as well as city designers about the angled parking itself,” Dawson said. “So, it’s probably something I think the mayor will be reviewing this spring and probably be implementing as something we want to do.”
Danny Reynolds runs Stephenson’s on Main Street.
“Certainly, people have had their share of opinions on the angled parking,” said Reynolds. “Honesty, from the majority of what we have heard, have been positive. I have heard a few negatives but certainly not nearly as many, and that was kind of right in the beginning.”
The city is expected to hold a series of public meetings early in the year to see if there is enough support to expand the angled parking program on Main Street.