Lima has enough parking, RPC planner says

LIMA — Cody Doyle regularly hears from residents who say there aren’t enough parking spaces available in downtown Lima.

But Doyle, a senior planner for the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, said already-existing parking spaces downtown are under-utilized.

“We need to get rid of the parking businesses and build buildings,” Doyle told the Lima Rotary Club on Monday.

Downtown Lima’s parking occupancy rate, or the percentage of parking spots being used, is only 40%, Doyle said. That’s less than half the recommended 85% occupancy rate.

Doyle spoke to the Rotary Club about suburban sprawl, which became popular in the post-World War II era as the Baby Boom generation started buying homes. That rapid growth is costly for governments tasked with providing services such as utilities and roads to those suburban communities, which generate less revenue than they cost to create.

“We were able to rapidly expand in a way that we were never able to really pay for,” Doyle said, adding: “We were the college kid that had a bunch of loans. … At some point, those loans will come due.”