2/16/2010

Shrinking Ramp

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the council will be looking at ways to trim the parking ramp project at their session tomorrow.

The city’s parking ramp project needs to be scaled back, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said last week, and the Common Council will discuss how to do that during a work session Wednesday.
Tucker said there’s a chance the city may settle for fewer parking spaces than the 200 that were proposed by Foit-Albert & Associates, the design firm working on the replacement for the city’s downtown parking ramp.
In a meeting with Foit-Albert last week, Tucker said, he told them the city can’t afford the $10 million plan the firm has submitted.
“There’s no way we’re spending $10 million,” Tucker said.
The portions of the project include $700,000 to tear down the existing ramp, closed since August 2006 because of crumbling concrete; $1.7 million to install a street-level park in the space, leading to the Erie Canal overlook; and $8 million to construct a two-level underground parking garage with some surface parking on top....
My feelings from my last post remain:

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). 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....
I'd suggest removing the current ramp and supplying a nicely landscaped surface lot on Pine. Keep the retaining wall  (or move the portion of it along Main St back 30' or so and create a simple "park" down to the "overlook". Move the Gazebo on Canal St over to it so that the area on Canal could be open for possible future private development by Inlighten. Any multi-level structure is a waste with no plans to densify the immediate area.
 
Old posts on the ramp are here.

UPDATE 02/18/10:
LUSJ reporting on council discussion:

...All three plans call for tearing the ramp down, which would cost about $700,000.
• The first plan, which Tucker called the most expensive and therefore the least likely to be approved, called for a parking lot with an underground level. There would be a seating area and a park on the surface area. The council decided not to hear any details on the first plan.

• Plan two would call for just a surface parking lot with no levels underground and about 50 to 60 parking spaces available. As in the other two plans, people could still use the Electric Building to overlook the Erie Canal. There might be some landscaping done, but no park would be built. Tucker said the plan was the least expensive and something the council should consider.
• Plan three would be the creation of a small lot located behind some of the Main Street businesses. The lot would hold 25 to 35 parking spaces and feature a small park. Council members directed Tucker to work with Foit-Albert and provide details of the second and third plans.
Common Council President Richelle Pasceri, 1st Ward alderwoman, said where the ramp is located is an important spot for those who come into Lockport. People could park there and be close to tourist destinations....

I vote for number three. As useless as the ramp is, it does lend some scale to the street that an asphalt lot would not. Leave space along Main for future development possibilities and use it as some green space in the mean time. We've done fine without the ramp for a few years now. Let's not pave over more than is necessary. There is plenty of parking on Pine St itself for visitors.

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