Downtown Jim Thorpe is known for its unique architecture, charming shops, and traffic headaches.
The historic downtown has been the focus of a major traffic study since 2017. Results and recommendations of the study were recently made public.
"It was built for horse and carriage. Whereas it was in its day, another destination for people coming in from the city, it wasn't quite as bad. It was never meant for cars and vehicles," said Kathy Henderson, director of economic development at the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Jim Thorpe Parking Analysis Project Steering Committee.
Now the center of a tourist destination, the town lacks the infrastructure to make getting around easy for guests.
"Visitors are very confused as to where they can go to park, where the best areas are to park, how they get access to different things they're going to [like] restaurants or stores," said Henderson.
Congestion, lack of parking, and danger to pedestrians could spell trouble, both physical and economic, if not fixed.
"It really limits how many people can actually visit at any given time so that's going to translate into spend and revenue lost," said Chris Barrett, president and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau and another member of the Project Steering Committee.
The study suggests short and long-term solutions, like improving signage, along with creating more visible crosswalks and painted bump-outs in busy areas.
"If it's not a structure then you won't get cars or trucks or whatever hung up on any kind of structure. They can be driven over, there's a little bit more leeway," explained Henderson.
Removing the parking booth in the county parking lot and replacing it with "pay by plate" kiosks is also recommended. The county is close to making that happen. Kiosks are now installed and expected to be operational by this fall.
"That'll alleviate a lot of the issues coming into the county parking lot because that main kiosk will no longer be there and that was the hold up a lot of times," said Henderson.
It's a change that could be the first of several necessary improvements in the downtown.
"[Jim Thorpe is] so unique and so many people want to visit it that it hasn't really affected us negatively as of yet, but it absolutely will at some point in time. The question is, 'When will that point in time be?'" said Barrett.
Building a parking deck on the county lot is another recommendation made in the study.
Moving forward, another committee will be formed to begin working on implementing some of the suggestions.