Commentary by Rocky Shanehsaz
Is there a parking problem in downtown Noblesville? I guess it depends on who you ask, what time of day it is and whether it’s on the weekend or during the week. For some, parking is just a “perceived” problem, but a perceived problem is a problem, nonetheless. It keeps people from visiting our historic downtown and enjoying the amenities.
To solve the parking problem, the city administration has adopted many ordinances and strategies to add more parking spaces downtown through the years, and now provides a color-coded directional map to help visitors navigate their way to a paid public spot.
City and county leaders also have discussed building parking garages or remote parking lots for county employees, and other businesses in the area have talked about buying up smaller or stressed-out properties and turning them into parking lots. This would be the most detrimental thing we could do to the vibrancy of our downtown.
To build a parking garage, the average capital investment per space is $27,000 to $32,000, according to the city’s study on parking garages. That’s what many municipalities are paying for parking garages. It costs more to park a car than to buy most new ones.
I prefer the more visionary approach of building upward and solving the parking problem once and for all. We need the most cost-effective and efficient plan that gives access to everyone all the time, and not just on weekends. We need to build a parking elevator with modern technology that holds more cars by stacking them into tighter spaces, and the exterior could be designed to match the historic architecture of the downtown.
Parking Elevators and other automated parking solutions assemble parked cars much like your child’s Legos, by stacking the cars on top of each other in a smaller, more contained area. The driver pulls his vehicle into a typical parking bay then gets out and allows the automation to take over, with sensors, metal arms and sliding platforms moving the vehicle into its designated slot. To retrieve your car, you just push a button at the parking elevator kiosk, the automated system returns it, and you drive away.
Parking elevator technology costs less to build than a typical parking garage and takes up less space. To put it in perspective, consider the city’s plans for The Levinson, a $24.3 million building that will stretch the entire block of Maple Avenue from Eighth and Ninth streets. This project will reach two stories underground and five above ground and includes a total of 337 parking spaces, of which a minimum of 237 spaces will be made available for paid public parking. The city says the parking garage portion of The Levinson will cost $13.2 million, which breaks down to $38,575.67 per parking space.
A parking elevator, on the other hand, only costs on average $6,000 to $8,000 per parking spot. We could go eight stories high in the same footprint as The Levinson but fit 64 cars per floor or a total of 512 cars packed into the same space. I think that would be a much better deal to build a parking garage in downtown Noblesville.
As a Noblesville real estate developer who believes strongly in historic preservation, I want to bring a common-sense approach to spending city taxpayer dollars. We can use modern technology to improve city services in the most cost-effective and efficient way without sacrificing what makes Noblesville so unique.
Read more at youarecurrent.com.
Rocky Shanehsaz is a Republican candidate for a Noblesville Common Council at-large seat. Learn more at RockyForCouncil.com.