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Lockport Common Council picks new option for parking garage structure

BY: Rikki Cason | January 06, 2013

After a concern came up with the number of steps needed to connect the new parking lot to Main Street, the City of Lockport Common Council made the decision to go with a different option for the new structure.

Construction will soon begin on the demolition of the parking garage at the corner of Main Street and Pine Street.

On Dec. 19, Michael Marino of Conestoga-Rovers and Associates presented the council with four different options. The council had to choose whether they wanted cars to enter and exit on Pine Street or on Main Street. They also had to decide how big of a lot they wanted and where they wanted handicap accessible spots to be located.

The also had to decide whether to build a pedestrian ramp off of Main Street to allow handicap accessibility to the parking lot. Council members feared this would become a playground for skateboarders and decided against the ramp option.

The four different options ranged in price from $1.4 million to $1.6 million.

At that time the council voted on option D, which vehicles would get to from Pine Street. That lot came with 62 spots.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Tucker expressed his concern with having stairs built to Main Street, like the council had originally wanted. He said with the current design there would need to be 40 stairs, which in the winter time and for the elderly would be too many.

He said he was going to suggest adding more fill to the project and bring the structure up 10 feet, reducing the number of stairs to 20. This would cost an additional $100,000 to the project.

Tucker said for an additional $90,000 they could have the lot at street level.

Tucker said he spoke with George Fritz, owner of Mills Jewelers, who had several concerns about the parking lot. He worried that with the lot not being street level, children could congregate down there and not be seen. He also worried about the council putting additional handicap parking on Main Street instead of in the lot, because it would have to be located close to his business.

“Maybe the right thing to so is bring it up to street level,” said Tucker. “(Fritz) is downtown all the time. It is important to listen to him.”

The council originally had a concern with a lot that entered and exited onto Main Street. They worried it might cause traffic congestion. Tucker said after speaking with Fritz, he was reminded that when the parking garage was used, people exited onto Main Street and there was “never an issue” when the ramp was there.

The council decided to switch to the choice of parking lot A. Because there will be a grass slope needed, this street level lot will only have 44 spots and people will enter and exit onto Main Street.

The cost of parking lot A will be $1.6 million.

Marino said when site work was done, they would try and see if they could maximize the lot and add additional spots.

Tucker said one benefit to having the lot street level now, is some of the council members have expressed interest in one day adding retail shops around that area. Tucker said if the lot is not street level, that couldn’t be done.

Demolition to the parking ramp is currently slated for mid March. The project is on track to be completed by the end of June.

Once built, the lot will be open for downtown shoppers and tourists. There will be no overnight parking allowed on the lot.

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