Edina will likely delay plans for a north parking ramp expansion in the 50th and France neighborhood, focusing on maintenance and repairs to existing parking ramps and adding about 65 spots of surface parking at the Edina Realty and Hooten Dry Cleaning sites.
That’s the recommendation the city’s parking advisory team, led by Edina Economic Development Manager Bill Neuendorf, will make to the city council this evening.
The city would take on the $350,000 cost of adding surface parking spots and pass on some or all of the $450,000 in suggested repairs to local businesses.
Neuendorf said the urgency of the repairs on the parking ramps—the oldest of which dates to 1968—is the prime reason to delay expansion.
“The one thing that we can all agree on is that repairs have to happen in 2014,” he said. “The ramps are getting old, the concrete starts to flake and peel in some places. A lot of the drain piping is rusting and leaking, not just superficial rust, you can actually see through the pipe it’s so bad. It’s gotten to the point where you cannot put it off any longer.”
A 2011 parking study said the Edina neighborhood’s 1,347 parking spaces didn’t cut it and suggested the city construct between 150 and 300 new stalls.
After local businesses shot down a plan to solve parking shortages by building up the middle ramp, Edina moved quickly and forcefully to gather up more territory in the 50th and France neighborhood. The city purchased the Edina Realty building on West 49½ Street for $2.65 million in March. And in September it invoked eminent domain for the first time in a decade, condemning the $550,000 Hooten Dry Cleaning building.
Neuendorf said 40 new surface parking spaces could be built at the Edina Realty site by the summer and 25 at the Hooten Dry Cleaning site.
But surface parking is just a stopgap measure and the city still plans to expand the north parking ramp into the Edina Realty and Hooten sites to eventually create 150 to 200 new spots.
Neuendorf said the city can get away with constructing fewer than 300 total spots if it can develop an effective management method, such as a wayfinding system, to encourage people to take advantage of existing parking spaces located far from ramp entrances.“But it’s hard to change human behavior,” he said. “If there’s pouring rain or heavy, crummy snow outside, it’s hard to get people to park up on the rooftop.”