CARLISLE — Bosler Memorial Library is closer to reaching an agreement with the borough to alleviate parking problems at its recently expanded facility at the corner of High and West streets.
The library’s board of directors voted to move forward with the memorandum of understanding with the borough concerning the parking plan. It will have to be approved by the borough before the board gives it final approval, said Jeffrey Swope, the library’s executive director.
Swope said parking problems have been ongoing since the expansion eliminated some of the parking previously available at the rear of the library. Parking questions have continued to pop up since he became the director last summer.
“I immediately got hit with the parking, and started working with the borough,” he said.
The cornerstone of the plan is the Pomfret Street Parking Garage, nearly two blocks away from the library’s High Street location. Library patrons will be able to park at the garage and present their ticket for validation at the library, Swope said.
Assistant Borough Manager Deb Figueroa said spaces in the garage are not reserved for library patrons, and would be available on a first come, first served basis. The only time there may be issues with parking would be during jury weeks.
While the most direct route for patrons to walk to the library would be along West Church Avenue, the library will encourage people to walk out to High Street and past the businesses downtown to get to the library. Swope said 700 to 900 people visit the library each day.
“Of course, we would like them to stop and visit our shops and places to eat on the way to and from the library,” Figueroa said.
Knowing that people are still likely to use the alley, Swope said modifications are planned for the alley, including working with property owners to complete the sidewalk in one section of the alley.
Figueroa said the borough will look at the feasibility of adding lighting. Funding for the alley modifications can be taken from money set aside from previous borrowing that had been intended to build a parking lot for the library.
Though there are not yet estimates for the work, Figueroa said the “plan modifications are small in comparison to building a lot.”
Borough Manager Matt Candland said it was important for the borough to work with the library to solve its parking issues to keep the library in the borough.
“They are a great asset in the downtown,” Candland said. “Downtowns need people and the library brings people.”
The location of the garage does lead to questions about what patrons with mobility issues would do, Swope said, so there will be a couple of designated handicapped parking spaces on High Street. The library will also conduct its own promotional campaign to leverage public goodwill to leave the parking behind the library for people who are not able to walk from the garage.
“If you can make that walk, please do it out of respect for those who can’t,” he said.
If approved, the plan is expected to go into effect next spring.