North Barstow Parking Structure FAQ?s
Posted: April 23, 2014
1. Why is the parking structure needed?
Parking demand projections show a need for 525 parking spaces based on employment forecasts at RCU, JAMF, and the US Post Office (should they choose to relocate on N. Barstow Street). Surface parking could accommodate the parking demands that currently exist in the district, but the size of the parking lot required would occupy approximately two and a half city blocks. The City of Eau Claire’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan lays out a goal of “Complete North Barstow Redevelopment.” A parking structure reduces the surface area that is required for parking and maximizes the space available for commercial, retail, and residential redevelopment.
2. Is the North Barstow Parking Structure being built because of the Confluence Project?
No. In June of 2013 the City and the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District worked to amend the TID #8 to include the design of a parking structure in 2014 and construction of a parking structure in 2015. The need, scope, and timeline for the structure were established independently from the Confluence Project.
3. Why is the parking structure being proposed so soon after the Confluence referendum?
The concept of a parking structure has been included in the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District/Phoenix Park from the earliest concepts of revitalization of that area. Engineering Division staff started evaluating layouts and options for the ramp in December of 2013. The development of plans for a parking structure is independent from the proposed Confluence Project.
4. Is the parking structure only going to be used by JAMF and RCU employees?
No. The ramp will be open to the public. Contract parking will be available to the general public, as well as RCU & JAMF, for parking during business hours. Evenings and weekends will offer public parking without the need of a contract. Parking fees will be collected by automated equipment at the entrances of the ramp.
5. Why can’t parking be provided at the current Civic Center parking ramp?
The Civic Center parking ramp has a 405 vehicle capacity. The average weekday usage of the ramp is 134 cars, leaving 271 parking spaces available. When the renovation of the former Ramada Inn is complete, the number of available parking spaces will decrease further. The Civic Center parking ramp could accommodate some parking demand, but it lacks the proximity and number of spaces necessary to meet the current needs of the North Barstow District.
6. It is a lot of money for a parking structure. What is included in the $9.7M - $10.3M cost?
The initial cost estimate includes improvements to Hobart and Galloway Streets. Street improvements include new pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalks, water main, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer. In addition to street and utility costs, the cost estimate includes engineering fees, landscaping, construction cost of the structure, and a conservative contingency.
7. Where are we currently at for the project?
The plans for the parking structure are currently in the preliminary concept stage. The first step in the process is to establish the demands that need to be accommodated. Engineering Division staff compiled parking demands, initial layouts, and began the stakeholder process with the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District. A consultant was hired to refine the initial concepts and suggest efficiencies that could be incorporated into the design.
8. What is the next step for the project?
The Engineering Division is evaluating proposals from the consulting firms who responded to the Request for Proposal for Design Services. A consultant will be selected for the design and will compile bidding documents over the next 6-9 months.
9. What is the anticipated schedule for construction?
Upon completion of the bidding documents, a decision will need to be made for moving forward with a bid for construction services. Currently a bid date has not been discussed or established. Once construction begins, the parking structure will take 9-12 months to complete.
10. Will the proposed structure have an appearance similar to the parking structure across from City Hall?
No. Initial concepts for the North Barstow Parking Structure place a high importance on aesthetics and functionality of the structure. The structure will be designed to blend into the redeveloped landscape of the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District and is anticipated to have modern features such as bike and moped parking, charging stations, and other inclusions that will meet user needs for the next 50-75 years. The appearance of the structure will complement the architecture of the area and help create a well thought out theme for the district.
11. What features will the parking structure have?
Features to be considered during the design include restroom facilities, bicycle and moped parking, charging stations, an elevator, and an aesthetically pleasing exterior appearance.
12. What will the common areas between the parking structure, JAMF, RCU, and the liner building be like?
The design of the area between the buildings will begin once a design consultant is hired. During initial discussions with stakeholders, a list of items was started. Vehicular access to the back entrances of the buildings is necessary. Landscaping and green space are important. Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations need to be provided. The common areas need to be functional as well as complementary to Phoenix Park and the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District. The final design of these areas will need to balance and accommodate these needs.
13. What is planned for Block 7? Why can’t the parking structure go there?
Block 7 is currently providing temporary parking for the North Barstow District. When the parking structure is constructed, it will accommodate the users currently using the temporary parking on Block 7. Block 7 will then be offered for development.
If the parking structure were built on Block 7, costly accommodations to replace the temporary parking would need to be made until the structure is finished. If the parking structure is constructed on the Post Office site and existing RCU parking lot, parking on Block 7 will continue throughout construction.
14. Will the parking structure include a transit center?
Incorporating a transit center into the new parking structure was examined early in the process and was not included as a recommendation to move forward. One of the desired aspects of the parking structure is to maintain a low height. If space were utilized for an internal transit center, the overall height or footprint of the structure would need to be expanded to accommodate the loss of parking space. The City is moving forward with plans for a transit center location study that will refine a recommended location for a future transit center.
15. How will the parking structure be funded?
Funding options are still being considered and will be presented before final construction approval.
16. How much will it cost to park in the new parking structure?
The fee to park in the parking structure hasn’t been established. The fee to utilize the structure will be examined during the design phase and then again re-evaluated when the City conducts its comprehensive parking study planned for 2015.
17. Why doesn’t the City wait until after the completion of the Comprehensive Parking Study planned for 2015 to move forward with the parking structure?
The City committed to provide adequate safe and convenient parking to RCU and JAMF when they made the commitment to locate their businesses in the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District. The City and businesses agreed to locate the parking spaces within 800 feet of the RCU building. This agreement makes the Post Office site the most inviting site on which to construct a parking structure. The Comprehensive Parking Study will include the new parking structure in its evaluation of the downtown parking needs and performance.
18. What will be the annual maintenance costs of the structure?
Depending upon the construction method chosen, the annual cost of maintenance is estimated to be between $20,000 and $27,000 per year.
19. There are several large parking lots in the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District now, isn’t there adequate parking space in those?
The photos above show the current parking demand in the district. These pictures were taken without the large number of employees that JAMF will bring to the district when their office opens.