ELKHART — City officials have identified additional parking spaces to offset the spots to be lost due to a downtown construction project starting this summer.
The issue has worried some downtown merchants — concerned downtown customers won't have convenient access to parking due to the work to begin in July. And while some doing business in the center may face a measure of inconvenience, city engineer Mike Machlan, thinks the new spaces identified Thursday, March 27, will help alleviate any problems.
"We're more than replaced the parking we've taken out," Machlan said.
A huge, one million gallon sewage holding tank is to be installed under the city-owned Gause lot west of Waterfall Drive between Jackson Boulevard and Lexington Avenue per the looming project. The lot contains 83 parking spaces, which will be lost until the work is completed, 18 months to two years after it starts.
Officials have already announced plans for a new 28-space lot on the southwest corner of Second Street and Jackson Boulevard. Per Thursday's announcement:
- Marc Barfell, property manager with DRTY LLC, will allow public use of three lots it owns. One, a 30-spot lot, is located directly south of the Gause lot, off Lexington Avenue. Barfell will also open 15 spots to the public at a lot on the southeast corner of Lexington Avenue and Second Street and 30 spots at a lot on the southwest corner of Lexington Avenue and Third Street.
- The city will convert three areas now designed for parallel parking into angled parking. The shift will create nine spaces on the north side of Lexington Avenue just east of Main Street and 22 spaces on the east side of Waterfall Drive between Lexington Avenue and High Street. Another 15 angled parking spots will be created on the south side of High Street, just west of Waterfall Drive.
All told, the new parking lot space opens 103 slots to the public. The new angled parking spots total 46, but the city didn't say how many parallel spots were in the locations to start with to get a precise measure of the increase.
Lexington Avenue east of Main Street will be converted into a one-way, eastbound street during the sewer tank project, permitting creation of the angled parking, according to Machlan. Similar traffic shifts on Waterfall Drive and High Street will permit creation of the angled parking on those streets.
Machlan expects that around two-thirds of the 46 new angled spots will be available at any given time given the varied phases of construction.
Downtown Elkhart parking