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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Government & Elections
Santa Cruz City Council Decides on Downtown Garage
At their meeting on Sept. 9, the City Council will decide whether fund the initial design for a 5-story garage at Cedar/Cathcart. Plans for the garage have stimulated proposals for greener solutions to customer parking, with a focus on supporting the downtown workforce to use alternative transportation to commute to work.
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At their meeting on Sept. 9, the City Council will decide whether fund the initial design for a 5-story garage at Cedar/Cathcart. The garage will displace the Downtown Farmers Market. The Campaign for Sensible Transportation is proposing that the City implement less costly and greener alternatives to building the garage. These alternatives are recommended in a 2003 report commissioned by the City called the Master Transportation Study. That study recommends that downtown employees be given incentives not to drive to work, including free bus passes, emergency taxi vouchers, credit at bike stores, and cash. The study cites examples from other cities in which such measures have substantially reduced car trips. To date, the City has not implemented the recommendations in the study.
On Sept 3, City Council Candidates will face the garage issue at a Candidate Night on Sustainable Transportation, at Louden Nelson Center, 7-8:30pm.
The proposed garage is slated to occupy the current parking lot at Cedar and Cathcart Streets—the parcel with the “4” on it in the map at the left. (The gray area is Parking District 4.)
The image at the right shows what the garage might look like. There would be 610 new spaces that would replace the 126 spaces on the current lot, so construction of the garage would provide a net gain of 484 parking spaces.
Construction of the garage is estimated to cost $21 million, with a total debt service (over 30 years) of $42 million. Thus each new net parking space would cost nearly $87,000.
Contrary to the City's General Plan, the planned-for garage subsidizes auto use rather than other transportation modes.
The planned-for garage would make Cedar Street the “back alley” of Pacific Avenue, and would commit funds that otherwise could be invested in Downtown prosperity.
The planned-for garage would require relocation of the Downtown Farmers Market—to a site yet to be determined.
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We have a brochure available for you to hand to any others who may be interested in this issue. It's a pdf that may be printed on the front and back of a single sheet of paper. It's right here. feel free to grab it and print a few copies to hand out. It pretty much duplicates the information on this (http://www.sensibletransportation.org/vibrantdowntown) web page.
Greener, less costly solutions, involving Parking Demand Managment, are well tested and recommended in the City's 2003 Master Transportation Study, but have not been considered.
Short-term customer parking would receive priority over all-day parking.
Incentives would be provided to support the use of alternatives by our Downtown workforce. Such incentives would normally include the providing of bus-passes, emergency vouchers, credit for ride-sharing, bicycles and the providing of “parking cash-out”. (Parking cash-out was implemented by Texas Instruments in Westside Santa Cruz, and in 2000 it eliminated some 16,000 trips. A 1997 study of eight Southern California sites that implemented parking cash-out programs found that vehicle trip-reduction averaged 11%. Applied to Downtown Santa Cruz commuters, this would be a reduction of over 500 trips.)
The cost of implementing Parking Demand Management would be much less than the cost of building the proposed garage—we estimate approximately $1250/year per commuter, which could be funded from parking meter and parking permit revenues.
The lower cost would allow development of the lot location to enhance the Downtown experience—it could be a Town Square serving not only the Farmers Market but also many of our other Downtown events.