Possible parking study on radar as new museum opens in Decatur

WAAY 31 spoke with drivers about the potential parking problems.

Posted: May 20, 2019 7:23 PM

A new museum will soon open its doors on Fourth Avenue in Decatur, and with new attractions comes new traffic, which has some folks worried about finding parking spots in and near downtown Decatur.

That’s why Decatur city officials are looking at doing a parking study once the Cook Museum of Natural Science opens up.

WAAY 31 spoke with drivers about the potential parking problems.

“it’ll be a little scary at first," one driver said.

That driver told WAAY 31 change can be sort of scary--even when that change is a beautiful new attraction like the Cook Museum of Natural Science.

She said, that’s because, even though she’s excited to visit the museum, she's worried about the headache parking might become in and around downtown Decatur because of it.

“It will be frustrating for me—as well as a lot of other people, I’m sure," she said.

It’s no secret the museum is expected to bring in more people to the City of Decatur, which, in turn, means more parking spaces are needed.

“Maybe some new parking decks? That would be something great to see in Decatur," one driver told WAAY 31.

While nothing is set in stone, Decatur city officials told WAAY 31 they are thinking about doing a parking study, once the museum opens, to see what’s needed.

But some folks say they don’t expect parking to be a problem.

“After you’ve lived in Tampa, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee, the traffic here is just no," Alan Watkins said. "It’s Decatur. We’re not going to be just overwhelmed, I don’t think.”

One driver, however, believes a parking deck could be a positive for more than just visitors of the museum.

“Places that are already having parking issues, it’ll be able to take care of those parking issues that we’re already having," she said.

Even with the almost-guaranteed hassle of finding a parking spot once the museum opens, that driver said welcoming new faces to Decatur will make up for it.

“It’ll be a little shaky at first, but after everything settles down, I think it’s going to be good," she said. "With growth comes pain. So, growing pains are worth it, sometimes.”

The Cook Museum of Natural Science will open its doors on June 7th.

The Decatur City Council is planning to vote on a parking study in mid-June. If the study is approved, it will most likely begin in July.

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