BDC completes city parking study

Main Street in the City of Cortland. (Photo Source: SUNY Cortland).

The city of Cortland is set to unveil a $14,000 study of Cortland’s downtown parking program.

The study was commissioned by the Cortland County Business Development Corporation (BDC) and compiled by Rochester-based consultant Fisher Associates. It is set to provide analysis of the city’s parking program, as well as some short-and long-term ideas for its improvement. The study is being delivered as the city undertakes an extensive downtown renovation that will have long-and short-term impacts on traffic patterns and accessibility in the district.

“The street is being rebuilt, so this is a perfect time to look at the big picture,” said

BDC Executive Director Garry VanGorder. “We thought we would help get the ball rolling.”

Members of Cortland’s business community have long complained about employees parking in customer spots in front of businesses, confusing rules regulating parking hours in open lots, poor signage directing visitors to those spaces and an inefficient parking permit program that fails to collect important data from the buyer, according to a press release from the BDC. 

The study is meant to look at these issues in detail, as well as critically review how to move forward with projects such as the conversion to a two-way street downtown, and increased residential traffic.

“Downtown Cortland is the heart of the city’s economy,” VanGorder said. “It’s going to be bumpy for a bit, but with some careful planning we can come out the other side of it better than ever.”

VanGorder said the BDC will also urge a city review of its refuse collection and streetscape upkeep programs as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative construction work continues through 2024.

The study was aided by students in SUNY Cortland’s community innovation lab, who over a months-long period earlier this year collected data documenting Cortland’s parking practices.