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January 2, 2013

Main-Pine parking lot design changed

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — After feedback from community members and an affected business owner, the Common Council has picked an alternative design for the parking lot going in at Main and Pine streets this year.

The Council on Wednesday voted to scrap the below-Main Street lot design proposal that members had preferred overwhelmingly only a few weeks ago, and go with an alternative that puts the parking lot level with Main.

In December, aldermen picked the below-Main design mostly because, at $1.4 million, it was the least costly of four proposed options. The city intends to have the existing parking garage at Main and Pine demolished before spring and replaced with a surface parking lot by summer.

The least costly plan called for a 62-vehicle lot accessed from Pine Street only. A wall along Main Street would mask the 20-foot elevation change between the street and the lot and a stairway was to be built in the wall so people could walk up to Main.

Business owner George Fritz, whose Mills Jewelers is immediately west of the parking garage/proposed surface lot, raised several reasoned objections to that design, according to Mayor Michael Tucker. Upon further review it was determined the stairway would have to be about 40 steps — which Fritz and other community members suggested would make the parking lot none-too-user-friendly. Council President Anne McCaffrey, who proposed the stairway, agreed the climb would be prohibitive to some.

In lieu of the pit design, the aldermen picked one calling for a 44-vehicle lot that’s level with, and accessed from, Main Street. It’ll cost 18 parking spots and $190,000 more to construct, mostly due to the additional fill that’s required.

“It seems a lot friendlier to businesses and their customers,” 5th Ward Alderman Ken Genewick observed.

Bids for parking garage demolition are to be let this month and demolition work could begin in mid-February. According to project engineering firm Conestoga-Rover & Associates’ tentative schedule, construction of the surface lot should be wrapped up by late June.

The city-owned, 270-slot concrete parking ramp, erected in 1974, has been closed since 2006 due to interior deterioration.

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