Madison Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday approved a request by Mayor Bob Courtney to fund a comprehensive study of downtown parking assets and liabilities over the next few months similar to the master sidewalk plan conducted earlier this year.

Courtney said the study would provide a thorough examination of parking in the downtown area to assess which areas are being served and which areas are lacking. He said the assessment could help identify ways to resolve existing parking problems and provide insight on how manage future development.

The study, to be conducted by HWC Engineering at a cost to not exceed $49,900, would map the downtown to identify parking needs and parking assets using drones and other means, said Courtney. He noted the study would seek to gather data that will help the city better utilize its parking assets on weekdays as well as weekends and during busy festivals when the city’s number of vehicles and traffic grows exponentially.

“If you’ve ever been downtown you know there are two cities in Madison,” Courtney said. “There’s the one during the week and there’s the one on weekends. They both have very different parking needs and we have very limited off-street parking and we don’t really know what our parking inventory should be with the amount of traffic that we have and we don’t have any parking management plan.”

Courtney said HWC, the same firm that conducted the city’s sidewalk study, will help the city “evaluate our parking supply and demand” by “collecting the data, inventory our parking and analyze the supply and demand so we can make informed decisions.”

The study could begin immediately and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.