12/03/2009

Ramp Estimate Up to $10mil

Posted by MJ




The Buffalo News is reporting the estimates for the ramp replacement now stand at $10 million.

This project, while forward thinking in creating the park on top, is not worthwhile on its own. The area where the ramp is located  is surrounded by developments with their own parking (Lockview Plaza, Ulrich City Center, Canal St) and the empty pay lots during the Molson Canal Concerts show there is plenty of free parking around to handle a large influx of people. A ramp is viable if the surrounding area is dense. There is no density here and dropping the thought of adding structures on top of it will not add any.What is left is a ramp for the Urban Park Towers and Ulrich Development/Mills Jewelers. A 2 year old article for the LUSJ had the usual parking pondering.

For downtown (or any urban area to flourish) it needs to be dense. Parking needs to be planned on a comprehensive scale for the density to occur. Having every small development surround itself with parking  and you end up with S. Transit in the town. Even if that is what we would want Main St to look like you will never compete with the cheap green fields required to absorb all of the parking (usually more parking square footage than actual building square footage). The main quality that a DT has to compete is the ability to provide large amount of mixed amenities on a small amount of land. To not try to foster it will only create (has created?) a long slide to a point where you chase enough of the amenities/people away that you finally have "enough parking".

The city would be wise to explore reestablishing planned-out municipal lots with less money instead of redoing the ramp. Design them mid block (Similar to UCC) with actual people-based uses at the street.  Get people walking a block or two to their cars and retail will grow with the new customers. Let people park right by their building and they step right into their cars and retail dwindles with the lack of foot traffic. Charge a fee to each development (in lieu of having to provide their own spaces. Encourage residential to make the lots 24 hr instead of 8 or 12 hour and to spread the costs of providing the parking (plus more customers!) If street side parking stays full while the free lots still have spaces, charge street parking fees at a price that keeps the spaces 80% full to create turnover

With everywhere requiring large amounts of adjacent free parking it's hard to say no. But it's a long race down to providing a country full of public places that no one wants to be.

Parking is Important where the place isn't important....In a dull place, you want a parking space right in front of where you are going. -F. Kent
 Take a bold step and try to create an "important" Lockport.

UPDATE 12/4: LUSJ Article

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