OLYMPIA – Thurston County has hired a consultant to undertake a study of traffic patterns and parking at the County Courthouse off of Lakeridge Drive . As most county residents know, parking at the complex has been a challenge at times in recent years, especially when there are court trials underway or when people are dropping off items such as ballots or tax payments. Central Service Director Bill Phillips says a lot more people visit the courthouse now than when the facility first opened. "The current Thurston County population is more than 218,000. That's up about 94,000 from when the courthouse opened 25 years ago. That's a lot more people who may have business at the courthouse and a lot more cars stopping by. That's why it's important for us to examine who comes to the courthouse and why and what we can do cut down on trips and to expand parking if we can."
Phillips says the parking study will also fit in with other courthouse planning. "We are constantly examining space needs for county workers to enable us to better serve the public. Any change in the number of employees working at the courthouse can affect area parking and that impacts parking for the citizenry. That's why part of the study involves county employees and managers."
The public is also invited to take part in the study. "It's very important that folks take a few minutes to fill out a brief questionnaire so we have an idea when they visit the courthouse and what business they take care of. That way, we can take that into account should we want to adjust traffic patterns or attempt to locate additional parking spaces." The survey can be done on line at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/parking-survey. Paper copies of the survey can be obtained at the Lobbies of Buildings 1,2 and 3 at the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW in Olympia . The finished surveys can be returned to the same locations.
Phillips says every alternative will be examined in the study. "We are really open as to where solutions might come from. We are examining every possibility that might alleviate some of the parking challenges that we have at the courthouse campus."
The survey period will continue through November 7th. The study is expected to be finished early in 2006.