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Sunday, February 05, 2023
Drake White-Bergey State Lake Street Parking Garage.JPG

Lake Street parking garage redevelopment proposal opposed, offered revisions

Following discussions between the Campus Area Neighborhood Association (CANA) and the Lake Street Garage Committee, the neighborhood group decided against the approval of the proposed redevelopment plan for the Lake Street city parking garage.

Throughout the discussion process, the CANA steering committee discovered several flaws in the proposal and broke their feedback down into five groupings: the use of Hawthorne Court, the design, resident experience, bus terminals and sustainability. 

The committee pointed out that several aspects of the proposed redevelopment interfered with the daily partakings occurring along Hawthorne Court. They felt that the construction would inconvenience all of the businesses located along this street. 

“There is concern about businesses being impacted by the use of Hawthorne Court. There are emergency exits that exist on Hawthorne Court,” the Lake Street Garage Steering Committee released in a statement. “Not being able to use emergency exits would drastically decrease a business’s capacity and lead to great financial loss.”

Beyond just the economic inconvenience, the committee worried that pedestrian safety could be compromised. According to the committee report published last week, the idea was that Hawthorne Court would be converted into a “one-way street for a significant amount of traffic.” Ultimately, the committee feared it to be too dangerous.

The design of the remodeled parking structure was another point of notice for the steering committee, along with resident experience. The committee was concerned with the parking garage matching the aesthetic of the nearby buildings in the area, and per the proposal, they felt it was not going to. 

In addition, pedestrian safety was a key interest to the steering committee. The Lake Street Garage committee outlined that the remodel would include an additional “700 new beds to the site,” all of which would make it difficult for nearby residents to navigate their own parking affairs, according to the committee report. 

They also mentioned how major forms of transportation would have to have their routes modified at least slightly. 

“This is a major logistical flaw as this presents lots of opportunities for major backups on University Ave due to buses not being able to cross the lanes of traffic and a higher risk of accidents due to the Hawthorne Ct functioning as an alleyway and not being a controlled intersection,” the committee stated in their report.

To combat the issues CANA found in the garage committee's proposal, a list of solutions was introduced. The steering committee suggested a range of ideas from “moving the entrances to the bus terminal and parking to Lake Street” to solve the potential increased traffic issues, along with “using this project to activate Hawthorne Court with public art, lighting and cameras,” as noted by the committee report.

CANA steering committee’s solutions emphasized a goal of proceeding forward with a greater understanding and respect for the businesses and individuals that reside in the area.

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