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Author Topic: (PROJECT) New downtown garage would offer 269 parking spaces to public  (Read 6104 times)
DowntownNow
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« on: December 14, 2009, 08:56:04 am »

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As posted on the Tulsa World Sunday, December 13.

New garage would offer 269 parking spaces to public
by: KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Sunday, December 13, 2009
12/13/2009 4:35:02 AM

Downtown Tulsa could be getting 269 new public parking spaces.

A memorandum of understanding signed by three city entities and Williams Cos. Inc. calls for expanding the Williams North Garage on First Street between Main Street and Boston Avenue.

"It will help serve the people who work down here," said Pat Connelly, the city's budget director and the secretary of the Tulsa Parking Authority, one of the entities involved in the project.

The four-story parking garage — which has yet to receive zoning clearance — would be built directly south of Williams North Garage, above an existing surface lot owned by Williams. It would be operated by the parking authority.

"The surface lot remains the property of Williams," said David Giacomo, the director of the parking authority. "What's anticipated is we start about 13 feet in the air and go up."

The project also includes removing the above-ground covered walkway that extends from the Williams North Garage to the Williams Center. It would be replaced with one further east to run from the new garage to the lobby of the Bank of Oklahoma Tower.

Access to the new garage would be available from Main Street and Boston Avenue.
The $5 million project would be funded with $2 million in parking authority cash reserves, $2 million in third-penny sales tax revenue and $1 million from the Technology Tax Increment Financing district.

Williams dedicated its north garage to the authority about five years ago. Giacomo said the authority had made more than $4 million in improvements to it.

Connelly and Giacomo said the new garage would help ease the demand for parking expected as One Technology Center and the Williams Tower add tenants.

The city spent $76 million to buy One Technology Center, at Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue, and relocate City Hall there. The move was completed about a year ago.

The parking authority has a commitment from a downtown company to lease about 240 spaces in the Williams North Garage once the new garage is complete, Giacomo said.

The business now leases spaces at One Technology Center's parking lot, which is near capacity.

The parking authority will ask the Board of Adjustment in January for a variance to allow construction of a portion of the garage in a public right-of-way.

As currently planned, Giacomo said: "If you're standing on the sidewalk, a little portion of it would be over your head."

Giacomo said that when it comes to parking for downtown evening events, few people consider the Williams North Garage.

"We're trying to get people to that garage because it's nearby to the BOK Center and the Performing Arts Center," he said.

The project is expected to take about one year to complete once the zoning issues are resolved.


Now while I'm all for additional parking structures to be built downtown, particularly instead of surface grade parking (Churches take note)...I'm disappointed that more public monies are going to subsidize private interests, in this case Williams.  There are needs for more public accessible parking in areas around the Blue Dome, Brady and Greenwood areas in light of the promised private redevelopment that we have all said we want to occur there, but these needs seem to go unaddressed.  

Today, we cannot hold daytime events in the BOKCenter for lack of public parking, so our $200+ million public investment goes under-utilized until after 5:00 pm.

In the Brady, if the promised development that I have heard about happens, the surface parking that is there will disappear and the need for additional parking becomes apparent but unanswered.

I did like the few comments posted with this article online and the ideas behind them:

Alan Shore, (12/13/2009 9:23:15 AM)
Almost enough for Bartlett's staff of 270...  
 
BetterorWorse, (12/13/2009 10:23:16 AM)
Again it would seem the City officials are very short sighted when it comes to the parking needs of downtown as a whole, especially when taking into account the needs of the areas they are seeking to improve through the BOKCenter and the new ballpark. This parking garage, paid for with public monies through the Tulsa Parking Authority, will serve only a small portion of need and only that of tenants at the Williams and OTC.

What about parking for the area around the ballpark and the Brady and Blue Dome areas? If the goal is to incentivize private development in those areas where land will become a premium as density intensifies (as is hoped), parking needs to be addressed now before anyone will really consider the investment there. Take Brady for example, if all the promised development occurs down there as a result of the balpark, where are people to park that will go to the restaurants, residences, clubs, bars and music venues?

Tulsa's failing has always been its lack of proper planning...its always been a reactive plan - plob something there and lets see what happens.  
  
BetterorWorse, (12/13/2009 10:26:14 AM)
BTW I see no reason the TPA isnt pursuing the same logic for above surface grade shared parking on the two whole blocks BOK has under long term lease just north of the railroad tracks along Archer. The area is larger, can accomodate much greater parking numbers with 4-5 stories each and is well within the 10-minute walking distance to Williams and OTC they expect everyone else to trek for BOKCenter events.
 
 
I would add to that last comment by Betterorworse that the location of those lots he is talking about would benefit not only Williams and OTC but also the new ballpark, its surrounding promised development and the Brady District as well.

Keep in mind that the only structured parking garage scheduled to be built and also subsidized to some degree with $4million in public tax monies is the Tribune II project's garage that will have just enough parking for its two loft towers.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 04:26:19 pm by Admin » Logged
we vs us
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 09:14:53 am »

Wow, talk about the perfect being the frenemy of the good.  Expanding parking options nearest existing businesses maximizes the revenue.  Not only will the new garage serve the BOK Center when it's in use, but when it isn't it will be available for people who work and play downtown.  It just so happens that that parcel will service:  1) the Williams Towers; 2) BOK tower; 3) Blue Dome; 4) Brady District; even the PAC on overflow nights.  I'm sure you can think of more if you got out your #2 pencil and a scratch pad and started jotting from memory all the places you go downtown. 

By all means, if you can find a more win-win than this I'd love to hear your pitch.  Until then, please dump my civic contributions into the "benefits both city and private industry" bucket forthwith.
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DowntownNow
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 09:46:26 am »

we vs us - I'm not arguing against the build of a parking garage, I'm simply questioning the logic behind its location, who it will serve and how Tulsa could get the best bang for the buck.  If the TPA has only $5 million to allocate at this time, would Tulsa not be better served until that fund can generate possibly $10 million through grants, partnerships, etc to increase from the planned 269 spaces to something more like 500 or more?  To more strategically place them in areas of needed private development that can draw tax paying customers?

Whats to prevent Williams and OTC employees from using the same surface and street parking spaces the city administration has said are prevalent downtown for their workday parking?

The addition of this 269 space parking structure does not address the daytime need for events in the BOKCenter.  The lack of parking was made known at the very first attempt for a daytime event of significant attendance with that leadership conference soon after opening and another hasnt been held since.  This parking garage does not address the need for parking in the Brady should the existing surface parking lots be utilized for more dense in-fill project to create sales tax and ad valorem generators.  What happens if someone chooses to develop the acreage across from McNellie's?  That surface parking disappears as well, with little to replace it due to cost of land and need to build to cover of all things the ballpark assessment.

There is a reason areas of downtown such as the Brady District had master plans developed that included public parking structures...to facilitate and incentivize denser in-fill but to date, the City has yet to address this need.  I'm guessing most developers are awaiting a solution since its unlikely in-fill projects of proportionate size for the area can cover the cost of their own parking structures at a cost of $19-20k per space.
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OurTulsa
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 11:28:54 am »

I would rather see the $5mil be spent on improving the public realm around downtown making walking between the significant supply of scattered on-street parking and existing destinations much more pleasant or contributing to an identifiable and comfortable fixed transit system be it rubber tire vehicle or rail.  Or take that $5mil and attempt to convince TDA to work with developers to construct moderately priced housing downtown (they don't need to be massive 'grand slam - make TDA a profit' projects). 

But since we 'have to' build a parking garage and there's probably no turning back this site seems to make sense.  It will serve an existing need.  I would hope that in time it would be available for evening use but in the near term I don't see that as necessary.  The 269 additional vehicles aren't coming from outside of downtown.  This garage will free up space elsewhere downtown.  I don't think it makes sense to building a significant garage somewhere it will get scant use for the time being.  I would rather not build one over near the BlueDome/Ballpark to see it sit empty for most of the year.

My biggest concern is with the streetscape.  That street is already a dead zone between Boston and Main on the back side of City Hall and the BOK/Williams complex.  This garage, assuming they aren't going to establish any activity on the ground floor, is going to further deaden that block.  No amount of trees and pretty pavers will help make it comfortable - they might as well complete the kill by building entirely over the street.

Again, I'm of the opinion that a very efficient shuttle system should be established downtown or improving the walking environment instead of building more structured parking.  Not that the people who will use this garage currently linger downtown by stopping at destinations between work and the car but building a massive garage presense right at the destination reinforces the pattern (bed/bathroom/kitchen-garage-car-garage-office-garage-car-garage-living room-bathroom-bed with the occassional stop at the big box off the highway on the way home. I don't think this helps make downtown more urban.
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2009, 11:35:00 am »

The new garage will be immediately sold out during the day for BokTower workers who are now parking in the garage by city hall. That will free up space for city workers that are now parking two blocks east on the mega lot at 2nd and Elgin. The cost to the city will be about the same with city workers paying a little more out of their own pocket to have closer and covered parking by their job.

The location was picked because the numbers work.
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 11:49:52 am »

It's a much longer walk from the venue to your car when the streetlights are all glare. 
Makes people uneasy when they cant see into shadows on a strange street at night.
Hope they take that into account.
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 12:27:10 pm »

Any new parking garages need to have retail space on the first level otherwise it is just dead space that leaves downtown unconnected.  Lower level retail requirement for parking garages needs to be part of the new city plan if not already.
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 12:38:21 pm »

Any new parking garages need to have retail space on the first level otherwise it is just dead space that leaves downtown unconnected.  Lower level retail requirement for parking garages needs to be part of the new city plan if not already.

This garage has no first level.
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 12:57:09 pm »

This garage has no first level.

It would if there was a requirement in the city plan.  When I was in Chicago recently I did not remember seeing one parking garage.  They were all hidden underground or above retail.  Also Chicago has a pretty good mass transit system so there is less need of parking downtown.
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OurTulsa
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 01:03:50 pm »

"The surface lot remains the property of Williams," said David Giacomo, the director of the parking authority. "What's anticipated is we start about 13 feet in the air and go up."

So Williams will still have the surface parking on the ground level in addition to 269 parking spaces above.  

That 13 ft. space appears it could easily be occupied by a row of commercial structures.  That said, I'm not sure I would want to lease space underneath a parking garage that is being designed so that just about everyone entering will do so from the floor above.  And I think that street gets very little in the way of pedestrian traffic as it is.  The garage in all liklihood will further degrade the pedestrian streetscape on first street.  Maybe someday when multi-story buildings are constructed to the east and west of the garage on 1st they will consider adding commercial space under the garage.

Is there alot of transit traffic there on the street?
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2009, 01:30:52 pm »

Any new parking garages need to have retail space on the first level otherwise it is just dead space that leaves downtown unconnected. 

I completely agree and want to go even further...any new government buildings that house white collar workers should also have retail space on the first floor.
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2009, 01:52:14 pm »

Well, I am not a fan of parking garages period.  But as for this one being pedestrian friendly or not.  My old rule of  ( If you try to make all streets "A streets" aka "pedestrian friendly", none of them will be.)  This section of 1st street is already almost hopelessly destroyed as a good A street possibility and has become more like a dark, back alley.  This will further establish that as its nature, a "B" car oriented street.    The true loser in all this is the poor old Depot, its now doomed to be pretty much completely surrounded and isolated by non pedestrian friendly hulks.  At this point what you want to do is at least protect 1st from Detroit on east, past Mc Nellies etc.   

 The other most important street section to protect, and encourage as being pedestrian friendly, in that general area, is 2nd street from City Hall on east, and 3rd street all the way from the BOK Center and east (4th, 5th and 6th should also be nurtured into great pedestrian friendly streets).  

Again, If I were to pick my battles, this section of 1st would not be one that I would raise too much of a fuss about.
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 02:59:49 pm »

Well, I am not a fan of parking garages period.  But as for this one being pedestrian friendly or not.  My old rule of  ( If you try to make all streets "A streets" aka "pedestrian friendly", none of them will be.)  This section of 1st street is already almost hopelessly destroyed as a good A street possibility and has become more like a dark, back alley.  This will further establish that as its nature, a "B" car oriented street.    The true loser in all this is the poor old Depot, its now doomed to be pretty much completely surrounded and isolated by non pedestrian friendly hulks.  At this point what you want to do is at least protect 1st from Detroit on east, past Mc Nellies etc.  

 The other most important street section to protect, and encourage as being pedestrian friendly, in that general area, is 2nd street from City Hall on east, and 3rd street all the way from the BOK Center and east (4th, 5th and 6th should also be nurtured into great pedestrian friendly streets).  

Again, If I were to pick my battles, this section of 1st would not be one that I would raise too much of a fuss about.

Agreed, 1st is pretty hopeless from Cincinnati westward, however it's fairly lively around Detroit and Elgin and could be even better if the brick warehouse at Elgin is redeveloped, a hotel is built just to the west at Detroit, and more businesses are built/opened further east along 1st toward Greenwood.  The brick warehouse and the empty lot next to McNellie's really hurt 1st right now, hopefully once the ballpark opens there will be renewed interest in developing those parcels.  

And because 1st is so dead around the old depot I don't think that using the existing tracks between 1st and Archer is good once a commuter rail line is brought into downtown from BA, Jenks, and/or the airport.  In that regard it would be better to have the commuter rail slow down as it enters downtown and go down one of the 'active' city streets like 3rd or split it into eastbound on 3rd and westbound on 4th.  The line would branch from the existing tracks at the west end at 3rd west of the convention center and join back up with the existing track at the east end either at 3rd & Norfolk for a BA line or head north on Greenwood to go towards the airport.  Portland, Denver, and Dallas all have their commuter rail go through downtown on city streets with key stops which is what this would do instead of going through a freight rail corridor.  It would also provide an east-west connection between the convention center/BOK Center and Blue Dome while the north-south downtown streetcar would be used to connect OSU and Brady/ballpark with Blue Dome and Uptown/SoBo/midtown with stops near where the two intersect.
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2009, 01:05:43 pm »

Hmm, maybe now they can lower the rates in garages like Murphy, OTC garage, etc back down to $55-60 from $90!  Lips sealed

Methinks I'll still be parking 3 blocks away for $35 under my corrugated steel shante. Wee. Our folks we moved from Two Warren said they paid something like $15/mo for parking in the garage full of Porsches and Ferraris. Why are people hell-bent on making downtown suck to live in, work in and play in?
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2009, 01:10:43 pm »

Hmm, maybe now they can lower the rates in garages like Murphy, OTC garage, etc back down to $55-60 from $90!  Lips sealed

Methinks I'll still be parking 3 blocks away for $35 under my corrugated steel shante. Wee. Our folks we moved from Two Warren said they paid something like $15/mo for parking in the garage full of Porsches and Ferraris. Why are people hell-bent on making downtown suck to live in, work in and play in?

That garage was owned by the building and so parking was probably subsidized by the rent your company paid as well.

I've paid $20 to park for two hours in Chicago. It's called capitalism.
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