Parking lot plans focus of committee

Westminster appoints 12-member panel

March 12, 2002|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SUN STAFF

The Westminster Common Council appointed a committee last night to devise a comprehensive plan for the city's parking sites, including two downtown parking garages slated for construction this spring.

The 12-member committee, consisting of elected officials, city staff and business owners, will meet throughout the next year. Councilman L. Gregory Pecoraro will be committee chairman.

"Within the next 12 months the city has to take a real hard look at how to maximize not just [parking] spaces but permits and metering and use of other lots," said Council President Damian L. Halstad. "There may be underutilized lots right now that are so centrally located that [they] might be candidates for closure in an attempt to redirect parking to the decks."

The committee also will discuss whether the parking decks would offer pay or metered parking and how much to charge for each.

Westminster has more than 1,100 downtown parking spaces on city-owned lots and at street meters.

In a 1994 report on Westminster's downtown prepared by consultants HyettPalma of Alexandria, Va., 63 percent of the more than 200 city residents and downtown business owners surveyed rated the improvement and availability of downtown parking as "very important."

Construction on the $2.5 million Longwell parking deck, which would be built on top of the Longwell Avenue parking lot, is scheduled to begin in June. The deck would add about 200 spaces to the lot's 125 and would be built on the corner of the Longwell lot closest to Locust Lane.

A second parking garage on the former Farmer's Supply site would add 163 spaces and would adjoin a four-story office, retail and residential project known as Westminster Square. Construction on the project is expected to begin in the spring.

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