City officials will need to change parking rules again to ensure there is enough space for motorists using The Commons in downtown Medford, a parking analysis recommends.

City officials will need to change parking rules again to ensure there is enough space for motorists using The Commons in downtown Medford, a parking analysis recommends.

If nothing is done, the city would be short 67 short-term and 40 long-term spaces, said Dan Brame of Brame Northwest LLC.

His company has conducted a study to determine immediate parking needs and long-term parking requirements as more buildings are built in The Commons project. Lithia Motors' headquarters is scheduled to open in August in The Commons, housing about 300 employees.

To address the impact of the Lithia building, Brame recommended creating more permit parking in the Middleford garage, which is immediately south of the Lithia building. He also suggested reducing the allowable free parking time from three to two hours.

He recommended Lithia have a time limit of one hour on 18 parking spaces in front of its building, to accommodate retail operations on the ground floor.

The city has made several changes over the past two years in parking times downtown in response to requests and complaints from students, merchants and the public.

Members of the Medford Urban Renewal Board took pains to assure the public that The Commons wouldn't cause a parking problem, at least in the near term.

"We are not short in parking in downtown," MURA board president Dick Gordon said.

He pointed out that it is the city's responsibility to ensure there is enough parking in the downtown area to meet the needs of businesses. Lithia officials also have noted that a number of their employees who will relocate to the new building already are working in the downtown area.

Councilman Chris Corcoran said he wanted to make it clear that the city will have sufficient parking as long as it comes up with a good plan for managing the available space.

However, as more of the multi-block Commons project is developed, parking needs will escalate, Brame told the council.

Under projections of potential developments, Brame estimated that a new office building next to Lithia's headquarters and a new restaurant would require 77 to 138 short-term spaces and 112 to 141 long-term spaces.

Brame suggested building a parking lot of 150 to 177 new spaces. More changes would be required at the Middleford garage to adjust rates and times, he recommended.

While none of the additional development has even been proposed, Brame estimated that if The Commons project draws a hotel, bank and another office building into the available space, a 400-space parking lot could be required. Depending on the size of the hotel, from 520 to 965 additional spaces would be required in the area.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.