Town leaders in Stonington and Groton are learning more about how they can alleviate parking challenges in Downtown Mystic.
The towns hired a consultant to complete a parking study for the downtown area. According to the study, Mystic does not have as many on-street parking spots as similar sized New England towns. The on-street spots can also be hard to come by in Mystic, with poor turnover in some cases.
Mystic has one off-street public parking lot that routinely fills up, making parking a challenge on busy summer days.
“If people come into Mystic and there’s no to park or it takes 10 or 15 minutes to find a space, they are just going to get back on the highway and maybe go somewhere else," said Bruce Flax, executive director for the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce. "We want to make sure we take care of that parking component because you can’t have growth without taking care of the parking."
The consultant, John Burke, recommends metered parking for two-hour spots downtown. He said it would increase turnover. He also recommends that the towns enter into shared-lot agreements with churches, marinas and other businesses that do not always use their parking lots.
The study revealed that there are many underutilized parking spots five and 10-minute walks away from downtown. Burke recommends that the towns explore utilizing shuttles to get people from those parking lots to downtown.
According to John Burt, town manager for Groton, the study cost $25,000. Groton and Stonington split the cost 50/50.
Next, town leaders will evaluate the study and decide if they want to fund any or all of the recommendations.