The Buda City Council adopted a new Downtown Parking Action Plan on Nov. 16 that was presented by Julie Dixon of Dixon Resources Unlimited, a company that offers consulting services to provide municipal parking and transportation plans.

According to the presentation, DRU began a parking management study in May and reviewed other Buda master plans and municipal codes in preparation. In addition to virtual meetings with the Buda Downtown Merchants Group and the Main Street Advisory Board, Dixon said they also held an online survey from July 12 to Aug. 20. The online survey garnered almost 200 responses from residents and local business owners, though a majority of the responses came from visitors.

According to data from the survey, short-term parking with a time limit or a specified pickup spot was the No. 1 ranked improvement respondents wished to see. The other options were additional mobility options, such as public transit, improvements to signage to direct drivers to destinations or parking spaces, and improved safety with well-lit lots.

The 63-page Parking Action Plan report was made custom to the parameters and needs of Buda and outlines short-term, midterm and long-term recommendations for the city in order to optimize parking management for daily life and special events.

"You may never get past the near-term and that's actually absolutely okay," Dixon said. "In the long-term, it actually means that you're doing what works for your community."

Dixon emphasized working slowly to ensure progress is made efficiently and safely.

Short-term recommendations that would be implemented within one to two years included increasing public awareness of existing parking options, promoting and increasing walkability, and establishing a parking coordinator or manager position that would be responsible for parking operations.

Converting the parking on Main Street from angled to parallel parking, adding additional parking on Austin Street, creating a permit system, adding paid parking and implementing a procedure for parking citations were among the midterm recommendations that would be implemented within three to five years.

Increasing parking supply by converting underused lots into parking spaces and adopting towing procedures were among the long-term recommendations that would be implemented in six years at the earliest.

Special event management recommendations included protecting residential areas and offering shuttle services.

“It’s a great document and tonight, I would be happy to approve it, just as long as we know this is a living document,” Council Member Paul Daugereau said. “These are suggestions and certainly not everything happens at once here.”

Despite approval, board members had issues with some recommended items that they believed the city is not ready for, such as parallel parking conversion on Main Street or the implementation of paid parking.

Overall, the consensus from the council is that progress through the plan will have to be strategic and done incrementally.

“We’re going to learn a lot of lessons going through this but I like the approach of dabbling a little bit before we go full throttle,” Council Member Monica Davidson said.