For some time, St. Armands stakeholders have awaited a significant step toward mitigating parking problems near the Circle. Today, it will become clearer what path the city is interested in taking toward addressing that issue.
At a meeting this evening, the City Commission will hear an update on the St. Armands parking feasibility study. Staff has been working with consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates since 2013, focused on developing recommendations for alleviating the parking shortage around St. Armands Circle.
Last year, the city held workshops to discuss draft versions of this study with residents, landowners and merchants on St. Armands. In the report, some recommendations are made for addressing issues such as speeding and pedestrian crossing, but the bulk of the discussion has focused on the potential addition of a parking lot.
The study states St. Armands is 320 parking spaces short of adequately serving peak season demand. It names two potential sites for a 400- to 500-space garage, both of which are currently municipal parking lots. The lots are located on North Adams Drive and South Adams Drive.
Residents voiced concerns about the height and character of a larger parking garage, and a consensus emerged among stakeholders that the city should revisit the study and consider building two smaller parking garages on that site. The study has been revised to consider that option, but still, the consultant recommends a single parking structure for the city.
Cost estimates for constructing a garage on St. Armands vary from $6.8 million to $12.2 million. The report suggests a list of options for financing a project, including bonds, tax-increment financing, parking fees, grants and public-private partnerships.
At the March's St. Armands Business Improvement District meeting, members of the board indicated they had become weary while waiting for the city to take action on the garage — and said they hoped to see significant progress soon.
“I think that we’re at a point right now where it has to go before the commissioners,” BID board member Marty Rappaport said. “It can’t wait.”
The full agenda for Monday’s commission meeting can be found on the city website, as can the full text of the St. Armands parking feasability study.