By Deb Murphy

Bishop’s Public Works Director Dave Grah conceded that the city’s Parking Open House recently didn’t have a great turnout. What it did have was a lot of good suggestions to solve the problem, whether real or perceived, of parking in downtown Bishop.

Cora Williams (Joseph's Market) and Dave Grah (Public Works Director)

Cora Williams (Joseph’s Market) and Dave Grah (Public Works Director)

City Hall’s Conference Room was lined with aerial photos of downtown with public parking shaded in green. There was a lot of green on those photos raising the question: what’s the problem? Grah, and other city administrators and council members, have suggested Bishop doesn’t have a parking problem, it has a walking problem.

One problem is the conflict between short-term parking, long-term parking and businesses whose clientele requires or expects parking in front of a business for somewhere between the short- and long-term. Example: Bishop Twin Theater clientele out for the traditional dinner and a movie may end up with an extra $30 (the cost of a parking ticket) tacked onto the night by exceeding the two-hour time limit on close-in parking. While Bishop Police Department has no formal parking enforcement, officers do respond to complaints according to Chief Chris Carter.

As City Administrator Jim Tatum explained at the City Council’s August 24 meeting, not everyone will be happy with the final decision, even if that decision is to do nothing.

Some of the suggestions, both written and verbal, included:

  • Lead visitors to public parking with distinctive signage

  • Longer parking durations farther away from Main Street

  • Increase time limitations on the larger public lots to encourage more shopper browsing

  • Lift restrictions on weekends

Public Works will review the comments, survey businesses and try to figure out how to make almost everybody happy.