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Sun, Dec. 15

NAU study helps Jerome squeeze 19 more parking spaces for weekend tourist flock

A new parking study and work by the zoning administrator and planning will hopefully make more spaces available in town. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

A new parking study and work by the zoning administrator and planning will hopefully make more spaces available in town. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

JEROME -- A new Northern Arizona University study has determined that the Town of Jerome could add 19 parking places in town on existing space with a redesign of stripping, parking angles and signage.

Ironically, that is about the number of spaces the town lost several years ago when a parking lot below the Sliding Jail began to slide down a hill before stabilizing.

But Jerome counts parking spaces the way they used to count gold nuggets, and possibly as valuable.

Parking is a “serious, serious problem,” according to Jerome Zoning Administrator/Planner Kyle Dabney.

The town acknowledges that they have a major parking issue and were happy to get a free study done by the NAU engineering Capstone project, which is part of an professional undergraduate program, Dabney said.

He said the students looked at what Jerome had, and they studied how to make it better with the existing space.

This including looking at the parking lot layouts, striping, signage, curve markings and the parking stall sizes, he said.

Dabney said it’s his job to work with the different departments and the council and come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The NAU study was to make the best use of the space that the town has, he said. The town has several parking lots and off-street parking which backs up onto SR89A.

It was understood in the study that there would be no parking lots going in, no new paving, Dabney said. “It was making the best use of the space we had.”

“Almost 730 hours” of research and study at no cost to the town, Dabney said, so the town really appreciated it.

However, Dabney said even though the town lost 20 spots to the Sliding Jail Parking Lot, that issue is not over yet as the Jerome Historical Society plans to tackle stabilizing the parking lot ground and jail area.

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