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City May Halve Parking Rates in New Garage

With most spaces sitting unused, the garage is failing to meet its revenue expectations. If prices drop, will you park there?

The new parking garage on Miller Avenue with 254 parking spaces, but most of the time, less than 10 percent of them are filled by cars, according to a report by Marty Van Duyn, assistant city manager.

That also means revenue from the garage is less than 10 percent of initial projections, according to the staff report.

In order to turn the garage around, staff is recommending that the city council cut all parking fees in half across the board. This would mean:

  • Hourly parking rates would drop from $1 an hour to 50 cents an hour.
  • Daily parking would drop from $3 to $1.50.
  • Monthly parking permits would drop from $40 to $20.
  • Annual parking permits would drop from $440 to $220.

The parking garage was meant to feed people to downtown businesses, but residents say it's overpriced, the payment system is confusing, and it's hard to find, according to the staff report.

Staff also plans to install better signage explaining the payment boxes and work with downtown businesses to help promote the garage with fliers.

The Parking Place Commission approved the new rates at its Feb. 14 meeting. The city council will vote on whether to amend the master fee schedule at its meeting tonight.

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Heidi Beck March 14, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Well, the skateboarders sure love it and the fact that it's so empty! I'm not surprised it's empty -- I had a son who took Saturday guitar lessons at Bronstein's for years. Until that lot was blocked off for construction for the garage, that was where we parked. We almost always found a spot there. There were always empty spaces that were for bank parking only. If it was that easy to find parking on a busy Saturday in the lot, why did anyone think a garage was needed there?
Kalani Kotrys March 14, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I think the price cuts are a great idea, and the increased signage would be a big help too, but honestly there should have been an entrance created on Grand Ave in the first place. 90% of traffic runs through Grand Ave (not Miller). I didn't even realize that the garage had already opened until just recently because I always drive in & out of SSF through Grand Ave. I'll have to physically remind myself to drive around to Miller to use the garage next time I'm getting my haircut or going to Starbucks.
Tess March 15, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Not surprised the tower goes pretty empty - you couldn't pay me to park there - unsafe, too dark, just asking to be mugged. I actually went looking to park there when it first opened - suppor the city blah blah blah --- kept right on driving when I saw three men in dark hoodies just standing around by the entrance. Need flood lights and lots of cameras to get me to take a second look. Half price parking is better revenue than no revenue - so good idea.
Eso R. March 16, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Another option is for the city to strike deals with local restaurants. If restaurants offer validated parking, it may bring in more business for them, and the parking garage, especially during lunch hours when all the biotech folks come to Grand.
Drew Himmelstein March 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
That's a really interesting idea.

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