Keeping an eye on parking

Demand during peak hours at the Lewis Street parking deck is roughly 350 spaces, or about two-thirds of its capacity, enough to accommodate some overflow from three planned developments downtown.

A discussion around parking began during last week’s Redevelopment Agency meeting in the midst of a presentation of a concept plan for a new East Cherry Street project.

af415-parkingdeckCommissioner Paul Sefranka initially raised the issue of sufficient parking capacity amid the construction and planned projects around town — “so it doesn’t become a hodge podge,” as he called it. “I just envision a whole lot going on at once, it could be a little problematic,” Sefranka said, though it doesn’t diminish his support for the most recent project.

Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Leonard Bier, who also is executive director of the Parking Authority, explained that they’ve been monitoring exits and entrances to the parking deck since January. At peak parking demand (noon on weekdays), there are no more than 350 access cards in use, leaving 175 spaces available in the 524-space deck, according to Bier.

12080-img_3483Parking permits are coded by type of user, whether a SkyView resident, commuter or merchant. Seventy percent of SkyView residents drive out between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., according to Bier, adding that SkyView has 190 access cards. There are 65 residential commuters in the parking deck and 180 non-residential commuters.

There are 130 parking spaces committed to three planned projects:

There is more than enough capacity in the deck for those three projects, according to Bier. These are legitimate issues commissioners raised and it would be wise to calculate at what point the city will no longer have capacity, said Bier, an acknowledged expert nationally on parking who has done some 10 similar reports in the last two years. Even on a Friday or Saturday night, he said adding 150 access cards at the deck still would only be at 340.

There are 137 off-street parking spaces that can be re-purposed, Bier said, and other lots that are not at 100 percent and there may be opportunities for future acquisition:

  • 50 spaces at Lot H (West Milton Avenue and Broad Street)
  • 72 spaces at River Place (Lot RP)

2 thoughts on “Keeping an eye on parking”

  1. I’m not so sure I believe their figures. I currently don’t utilize the parking deck but last year, I used it frequently in bad weather (paying extra for the luxury) due to my yearly commuter space being too far from the train station. I’d get there around 7:00 am and typically, would have to hunt for spaces. Yes, there were some but few and far between. I can’t imagine this has changed much, unless they finally opened up the top deck – which has been closed for ages due to Sandy damage.

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