Fresh Thyme parking: ‘The sky didn’t fall’

An informal survey of Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market attendees indicates that adding a grocery store in downtown Farmington may not have had the catastrophic effects on Saturday parking that some feared.

Before Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opened in the Downtown Farmington Center about a month ago, officials and residents alike worried that a requirement to reserve 30 spaces for store parking, adding about 100 employees, and projected increase in traffic would create parking nightmares, particularly during the Market.

On Monday, city council member Sara Bowman said market-goers who were recently asked “Where did you park today?” didn’t report unusual trouble finding a space.

“We didn’t have anybody that came by and said, ‘I circled for an hour and had to walk a mile.’,” Bowman said. “The words I kept hearing were, ‘I got lucky…Somebody was just pulling out of Starbucks. I got lucky.’, Well, you got lucky, or traffic was flowing.”

The “unscientific” survey identified under-used parking lots at Los Tres Amigos at Grand River and Warner Street, and the Maxfield Training Center lot at Warner and Thomas Streets. As a result, market manager Walt Gajewski has added some signage to make motorists more aware of those options, which are within about a block of the market.

“I just wanted to point out that the sky didn’t fall,” Bowman said. “Fresh Thyme has really been a great partner, and we’re addressing these on-going issues with our parking committee as we continue to grow.”

Earlier in the meeting, Parking Advisory Committee chair Elizabeth Turon presented a review of the city’s parking map. The group recommended imposing time limits on a State Street lot where vehicles park long-term, removing prohibitions against parking during school hours in front of the vacant Maxfield Training Center on Thomas Street, adding on-street parking on Mayfield and School Streets, and time-limiting 12 spaces behind The Vines Flower and Garden Shop.

Note: Farmington Voice publisher Joni Hubred-Golden is a Fresh Thyme employee.