Two state lawmakers have proposed a solution to Annapolis' parking headache, but city officials caution the cure may be worse than the malady.
Delegates Leonard H. Teitelbaum, D-Montgomery County, and Tyras S. "Bunk" Athey, D-Jessup, introduced legislation Jan. 31 that calls on the state to study the feasibility of building a bi-level, 150-car parking garage beneath State Circle.
"When you mention Annapolis, the first thing people tell you is there ain't no parking down there," Athey said Friday. "People like toget as close as they can."
Teitelbaum, a civil engineer, said he got the idea while visiting Little Rock, Ark. Attending a legislative conference, he said he happened upon a parking garage beneath a public park.
Teitelbaum said an under ground garage would not disturb the view of the historic State House in the same way a multi-level parking garage off Rowe Boulevard, which the state considered several years ago, would.
"I believe it's technically feasible," Teitelbaum said. "The study will determine if it's economically feasible."
City officials, who want to build a 500-car garage known as Gotts Court only a block away, said they were unaware of the legislation Friday.They said they were especially surprised since Gov. William Donald Schaefer has included $2 million for Gott's Garage in his proposed $815 million capital budget.
"It would be extremely expensive and next to impossible to build an underground garage," said City Administrator Michael Malinoff, adding that the city had investigated subterranean parking as an option.
Emory Harrison, city director of general services, said construction could be disruptive for the merchants along State Circle. The city recently completed 8 months of construction, burying overhead wires.
"I can't imagine the businessman willbe too happy," Harrison said. "They are just getting back on their feet."
Teitelbaum said construction of a garage with an entrance and exit to Francis Street would not have to disturb businesses. "Most of the work would be underground digging," he said.
Construction costs could be recouped through parking fees, Teitelbaum said.
With the state's gray fiscal climate, Athey said he doesn't believe their bill "will have too much success this session. But, if you don't get these ideas out in front of people, you don't ever get too much action on them."