Chico city planners are hoping that by adding parking free parking spaces to a portion of Flume Street, more downtown employees will park there, instead of in premium spaces downtown. The Chico City Council has approved a two-pronged plan to remove meters and add spaces to Flume Street between 2nd and 7th Streets. The parallel spaces would be removed, and turned into diagonal spaces. Senior civil engineer Bob Greenlaw says this would turn 38 spaces into 64 spaces, just within a two-block distance. Says Greenlaw, "The existing infrastructure is already there, the streets are wide enough, it's just re-striping of the road, and moving existing meters."
The goal is to attract downtown employees who use premium parking spaces, but have to continually feed the meter. Greenlaw says Flume Street is only 15% occupancy. Once construction of phase one between 4th and 6th Streets is complete, planners will take three months to determine if their plan is working. If so, they'll continue with phase two, which is to finish 2nd to 4th, and 6th to 7th. Construction on phase one should take place in early March, depending on the weather. Traffic will be minimally impacted, and construction should only take two days, and is expected to cost around $3,000.