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January 7, 2011

Agenda

  1. Call to Order and Minutes;
  2. Review Final Information on NP & 1st Corridor Study;
  3. Explore Civic Center Lot Event Parking Strategies;
  4. Discuss Downtown Valet Parking;
  5. Review Parking Facility Demand and Rate Schedule;
  6. Review Operator’s Report; and
  7. Other Issues.

Minutes

Chairperson Commissioner Williams called the meeting to order. Mr. Engen moved to approve the minutes of the November 5, 2010 meeting and Ms. Bailly seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Review Final Information on NP Avenue and 1st Avenue North Corridor Study

Mr. Stein reviewed the memorandum he had distributed to the Commission. He pointed out that ordinances were already in place prohibiting loading during rush hours. He reviewed the summary that had been distributed and stated he had conducted an opinion poll of the property owners, businesses and tenants along that corridor. He noted that bicycles had been mentioned several times in the course of getting responses. He stated that the corridor was scheduled to be re-built in the next three years no matter the outcome of the study.

Mr. Stein reviewed the parking study table and highlighted the occupancy rate differences between 1st Avenue North and NP Avenue North. Commissioner Williams noted that the streets had been built for a far higher capacity and the consultant agreed that they could handle the projected load easily. Ms. Walvatne clarified that the bike lanes would be striped only on one side of each avenue and Mr. Stein agreed that they would be on the single-lane sides. Commissioner Williams noted that increased bicycle traffic correlated with decreased accident rates and slower vehicle traffic. The Commission discussed enforcing the bicycle rules downtown.

Explore Civic Center Lot Event Parking Strategies

Mr. Stein attended a recent Auditorium Board meeting that had addressed parking issues in the Civic Center Lot. He stated that the City Engineering Department vehicles had been moved out of the lot and extra staff were added for large events to increase the speed at which the parking lot could be loaded. He suggested that directing traffic on the street would help ease frustration and that the Police Department had citizen volunteers who could help. Commissioner Williams noted that communicating other available parking options with event organizers might help distribute the load as well. Mr. Getz reviewed a recent example and noted that having signs out and people directing traffic might help get people to explore other parking options. Ms. Bailly suggested that people who hosted or planned events communicate better to coordinate parking for various events. Ms. Walvatne suggested the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) might be a good source for that information. The Commission discussed other options for optimizing parking in the various public lots both for attendees and vendors. Mr. Getz thanked Mr. Stein and Commissioner Williams for attending the Auditorium Board meeting.

Discuss Downtown Valet Parking

Ms. Citrowske explained that valet parking could help events and businesses to get cars parked in lots off of the street and ease circling and waiting frustrations that people expressed coming to downtown events. Mr. Stein noted that implementing such a program would have to be well-planned to succeed. He suggested that the Commission explore the topic further but that Parking Commission may not be the body to implement it. Ms. Bailly suggested polling for local attitudes regarding valet parking and exploring how programs in similar neighborhoods worked. Ms. Walvatne suggested that limousine and taxi drivers might be a place to look for staff that would be trusted and Mr. Stein noted that this may solve insurance and liability issues.

Parking Revenues

Mr. Rogne reviewed the monthly revenue report and noted that the Ground Transportation Center (GTC) garage had been seeing increased use for hourly parking from Municipal Court. He noted that Sanford had rented seventy spaces in the Island Park Ramp and Mr. Stein noted that people were using the parking meters in the front of that ramp as well. He reviewed the revenue and expense summary for the parking budget. He noted that the 2nd Avenue South Lot showed a profit for the first time. He stated that the revenues and expenses for the Island Park Ramp and the GTC ramp for
September reflected the Department of Energy grant projects performed in both. Mr. Stein noted that the doors to the GTC garage needed to be replaced as they had been failing this winter. He stated that patching the 2nd Avenue north lot had been used as a stop-gap measure but that something more would need to be done over the long term. Mr. Gilmour agreed that it made sense to continue attempting to work with surrounding property owners before putting a lot of money into rehabilitating it as a surface lot.

Review Parking Facility Demand and Rate Schedule

Mr. Stein reviewed the rate history table and suggested changes. He noted that the Radisson ramp and the 3rd Avenue lot were both full at $62 per month. Mr. Gilmour noted that the 2nd Avenue South Lot was also full at the same rate and that the 2nd Avenue North Lot was also full at a much lower rate. The Commission discussed the occupancy and monthly rates. Ms. Bailly moved that parking lots closer to the core have their rates raised and that the Island Park Ramp rate not be increased, that the 2nd Avenue North and South lot monthly rates be increased $2, the Radisson Ramp up $5
to $67, and other changes.

Mr. Stein noted that the 30-day notice would be sent with the next billing and Mr. Rogne stated that the increase would go into effect March 1, 2011. The commission discussed the rates for the Radisson Ramp and agreed that an increase of $3 would be better. Mr. Engen moved that the increases be implemented as follows:

  • $65 monthly rates at the 3rd Avenue Lot, Radisson Ramp and 2nd Avenue
    South Lot;
  • $58 monthly rate at the GTC Garage; and
  • $52 monthly rate for the Island Park Ramp, 2nd Avenue North Lot and NP
    Avenue Lot.
  • No change for the Civic Center Lot, Main Avenue Lot, 4th Street Lot and 3rd
    Street Lot.

Ms. Bailly seconded the motion and all members present voted aye. The motion was declared carried.

Other Issues

Mr. Gilmour reviewed recent staffing changes in the Planning Department and noted that Ms. Citrowske would be working more with zoning administration. There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.