Downtown Parking Facilities

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
John
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby John » November 7th, 2013, 4:15 pm

Tcmetro wrote:Well, you have 160,000 people working downtown, 1 rapid transit line (that serves an industrial corridor, an airport, and a mall), a mediocre urban bus network, and suburban buses that run peak hours only. Add in the fact that a lot of companies give parking subsidies as perks, and voila.
Agree. Also, these ramps (when built) were very helpful to prevent companies from leaving downtown and moving ( or expanding) to the suburbs for more ease of parking. It was actually quite succesful and kept downtwon economically strong and competitive. Well , now 15-20 years later our whole cultural attitude and transportation paradigm has shifted away from a car-centric society . IMO that is a fantastic trend, however, I don't want to be too judgemental about the planning behind those parking ramps built 20 years ago. The key now is to figure our how to redevelop these ramps so they contribute to our increasingly residential, pedestrian, and public transit oriented downtown.

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Mdcastle
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby Mdcastle » November 8th, 2013, 3:15 pm

I wouldn't go as far as to say our "whole cultural attitude". The suburbs are still very car centric, and most of the people I know out here like it that way. People in the suburbs might say the like "walkable" neighborhoods if you asked them, but if you asked them if we should take out turn lanes and parking you'd probably get a different answer. Would businesses move away from downtown if it becomes a nightmare to park there? I don't know. Maybe with light rail lines having parking is not as big of an issue. I don't go to downtown so I don't have really have a stake in what happens, but that's a question to ask. I know if I had to work downtown I'd at least consider driving over to the 24th Ave Park and Ride.

As far as self driving cars, again I may be wrong, but I don't see this as really shifting the paradigm of people driving to work and parking. If you send the car back to your garage you've just doubled the miles you put on your car. If they operate more like a taxi- well there's reasons besides expense people don't use taxis. What if the person that had the car right before you threw up on the seat? What if you plan to drive to you friend's house after work, and have some stuff in the trunk you want to bring over?

John
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby John » November 9th, 2013, 1:09 am

Mdcastle wrote:I wouldn't go as far as to say our "whole cultural attitude". The suburbs are still very car centric, and most of the people I know out here like it that way
I really think there has been a change in people's attitudes and not just in the central city. There are many high density projects going on all over the suburbs. Many are located within walking distance to shopping, parks, and even sometimes public transit. None of this was going on 20 years ago. The suburbs were all about sprawl.

Wedgeguy
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby Wedgeguy » November 9th, 2013, 10:22 am

For the inner ring suburbs one of the only ways to increase the tax base is to redevelop areas with larger buildings. So this would mean increased density. Also you want more people living within your city to help push and make that redevelopment profitable. If you have new stores, but no increase in customer base you will probably fail. Making it convenient for shoppers is an easy way to make sure they stay in you city to shop and not drive to another area for their needs.

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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby nickmgray » November 11th, 2013, 7:01 pm

I think the parking issue has a lot to do with the culture of the city. While Minneapolis and Saint Paul have a decent transit and biking infrastructure, the majority of the people who work in downtown are commuting from the suburbs. As long as that's the norm. we will always need dedicated space to house those vehicles. The only thing that will significantly change the situation is a huge increase in the price of gas. If $4.50/gallon prices or higher become the norm, things will change.

That being said, I don't think we will ever get rid of any of the dedicated parking structures which have been built in the past 20 years. Those will only disappear once all of the surface parking lots are converted into office or residential space. Fortunately, that day isn't too far off. If all of the current proposals which are on the table go through, we will have less than 10 full blocks of surface parking left in the downtown core.

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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby TroyGBiv » November 11th, 2013, 11:34 pm

The other issue with ramps is about serving people who need to go downtown for business. It is not realistic to take a bus or cab in and out of the city. Taxis are very expensive and it actually takes too much time. I have worked D/T Minneapolis since the mid 1980's and clients weren't interested in taking a bus or wait for a cab to get to their locations out in the suburbs. Some amount of ramps help to keep the city competitive. I am not wanting anymore ramps but I know that our transit would have to be many times better than it currently is to alleviate the parking needs.

Silk
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby Silk » November 12th, 2013, 12:28 pm

If we can't reduce the number of parking spaces, how about reducing the amount of space they take up? The city allows a certain number of compact stalls (3 feet shorter and 6 inches narrower than standard stalls) but the drive aisles are the same dimension, so compact stalls aren't as compact as they could be. With the surge in tiny cars (Smart, Fiat 500, Mini, etc) maybe it's time the city initiate a new class of parking: micro stalls. Micro cars have much smaller turning radii than even typical compact cars, so if a facility (or portion of a facility) were dedicated to micro cars, the drive aisle width could also be reduced. This could have a significant impact on the amount of space cars take up. Less space and construction dedicated to cars could also help to reduce the net cost of housing (one underground parking stall costs around $20K-$25K). Going a step beyond the compact designation, the city could license cars as "micro" based on the cars' dimensions, which would not only regulate who can use such stalls, but could also be a means for giving perks to micro car users over standard size car users (cheaper parking, more convenient parking, etc.). Does anyone know of anything similar in other municipalities? If anyone else thinks this idea has legs, let's refine it on this forum and flip it to one of the new progressive city council members (Frey, Bender) who I'm sure will be looking for ways to make a mark and demonstrate their progressiveness.

twincitizen
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby twincitizen » November 26th, 2013, 1:50 pm

What is this? http://goo.gl/maps/jnMy4

Obviously it's a parking ramp and some kind of (steam?) energy facility all-in-one. It takes up an entire block downtown, and it's just 3 blocks southeast of IDS and Nicollet Mall, so it's not like this thing is on the fringes. You've got to believe this will be one of the first to fall, as far as full-block parking structures go. Relatively speaking, it doesn't even have that much value as a parking structure. Sure, it's closer to the CBD than Gateway/Haaf/Gov't Center ramps along 4th/5th Aves, but it's not nearly as tall as those and has the hulking energy component in the center.

Could the energy component be relocated to a nearby block instead? Incorporated into a new office building / parking ramp combo? Do we really need this facility at all? What is its relative value to downtown energy needs? (i.e. heats 1/4 of downtown buildings vs. heats the toilet water in a few boardrooms)

I'm looking for actual information or semi-educated speculation here, not just wild uninformed opinions.

seanrichardryan
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby seanrichardryan » November 26th, 2013, 1:53 pm

I always understood that to be the heating plant for the IDS and a few other downtown buildings.
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

seanrichardryan
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby seanrichardryan » November 26th, 2013, 1:57 pm

Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

HiawathaGuy
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby HiawathaGuy » November 26th, 2013, 2:02 pm

Plants: NRG Minneapolis’ downtown system comprises seven plants housing a total of 10 boilers and nine chillers.
The main plant, which generates and distributes steam and chilled water, is located at Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue South. The system also includes six satellite district heating and/or cooling plants: Convention Center, Foster House, First Avenue, Baker, North Riverfront and Macy’s.

twincitizen
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby twincitizen » November 26th, 2013, 2:04 pm

Ah thanks. Google is my friend...I just found the same.

It seems to reason that it there is some redundancy and that a scaled back (or just mixed-use and attractive) version of this facility could be incorporated into redevelopment someday. As far as parking structures go, it's definitely one of the ugliest.

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby Viktor Vaughn » November 26th, 2013, 2:29 pm

My understanding is that these steam plants provide heat incredibly cheap and efficiently for dense environments like downtowns or college campuses.

There ought to be a way minimize the blight of this thing though.

mattaudio
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby mattaudio » November 26th, 2013, 3:27 pm

For a summer back in college, I had an office window in the Accenture tower directly overlooking this steam plant. I always figured it was designed in the center of the block to provide for some sort of building wrap. Any ideas?

Also, that steam customer map is fascinating. Any chance a mod could break this off into a District Energy thread?

xandrex
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby xandrex » November 26th, 2013, 3:44 pm

In the summer of 2012, I worked in the Accenture Tower (or, ahem, 333 South Seventh Street) with windows facing the plant. Every once in a while it would make a huge sound and belch steam or something else (can't totally remember). Certainly not the most pleasant neighbor.

John
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby John » November 26th, 2013, 4:44 pm

mattaudio wrote:For a summer back in college, I had an office window in the Accenture tower directly overlooking this steam plant. I always figured it was designed in the center of the block to provide for some sort of building wrap. Any ideas?
There was a cancelled proposal in the late 1980's or so to build something wrapped around it. It was in StarTribune and I think there was even a rendering. Wish I would have saved it. It would make a great project (of some sort) as we continue reclaim the eastern side of downtown back for humans.

lordmoke
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby lordmoke » March 12th, 2014, 7:03 pm

I have made a thing. That is to say, I mapped all of the surface parking and vacant lots in DT with Google maps. THis might take a little time to load/ run slowly, but it really shows how much space we still have to develop. I didn't include ramps or parking that is surrounded by structures. Yellow lots have new uses actively planned for them, and green ones are being replaced currently. Here you go:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit? ... -YDB4eSP0A

MNdible
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby MNdible » March 12th, 2014, 7:45 pm

That is a thing. Nice work!

contrast
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby contrast » March 12th, 2014, 7:48 pm

lordmoke wrote:I have made a thing. That is to say, I mapped all of the surface parking and vacant lots in DT with Google maps. THis might take a little time to load/ run slowly, but it really shows how much space we still have to develop. I didn't include ramps or parking that is surrounded by structures. Yellow lots have new uses actively planned for them, and green ones are being replaced currently. Here you go:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit? ... -YDB4eSP0A
Very informative! Thanks for sharing what was obviously a significant effort to compile.

Silophant
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Re: Downtown Parking

Postby Silophant » March 12th, 2014, 7:49 pm

Wow. I knew there was a lot of surface parking in DT, but I didn't really grok it until I saw that. We've got a long, long way to go.


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