CHAMPAIGN - This may come as no surprise, but there's a shortage of parking in Campustown.
Just how much is identified in a new report from Walker Parking Consultants, hired by the city and the University of Illinois to find the trouble spots and recommend solutions.
The report identifies a shortage of 287 spaces in the vicinity of Sixth and Green streets and a shortage of 446 spaces in what is called the southeast commercial subsection, meaning the commercial area south of John Street.
Based on the report, the city's parking officials are seeking authority from the Champaign City Council to continue various management techniques to improve parking availability, further investigate the creation of a shuttle lot near the old Burnham Hospital complex, and continue to examine possibilities for a deck at Sixth and Green streets.
The council will meet on the subject in a study session at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
Tom Schuh, the city's special services manager, was careful to say the city is not necessarily recommending a deck at this time.
?If there is further development, it's something we could consider,? he said.
Late last year the city began talking with JSM Management, the developers of the Technology Plaza in the 600 block of East Green Street, about further development that would involve first-floor commercial space with a deck above at Sixth and Green. There is no formal proposal at this point.
The Walker report examined four alternatives for a deck at Sixth and Green. Three included no commercial component and also were more expensive than the alternative that did include a commercial component.
That alternative called for a 158,948-square-foot, three-story deck replacing the Lot J surface lot at the corner completely as well as the buildings on the corner. Only 11,700 square feet would be in commercial space.
At $9,220 per stall, 461 new spaces would be created. With other costs, the total price would be $4.7 million.
A deck offers the best value in terms of spaces gained, and offers the best possibilities for aesthetic compatibility with the neighborhood, the study said.
If a deck is pursued, Schuh said information in the Walker study would prove valuable.
In the meantime, a less risky alternative to a deck would be the creation of a shuttle lot near the Burnham property north of Springfield Avenue where the city already owns a 170-space lot, Schuh said. The MTD has agreed that the lot could be accommodated into its current route with little difficulty.
The cost of the improvements to the lot and operating expenses would be less than $3,000 annually per space.
That alternative would also be more compatible with the Campus Area Transportation Study, an intergovernmental planning body that has recommended parking strategies that reduce reliance on private vehicles in the campus core and encourage travel by mass transit, bicycles and walking.
To that end, the city narrowed lanes of traffic from four to three, widened sidewalks and tried to enhance the pedestrian environment in Campustown. It has been trying to adjust parking demand by raising meter and lease rates, changing meter duration times, changing times for some leased spaces in lots, changing regulations for on-street commercial loading zones and expanding on-street permit parking.
The Walker study cost $74,640, of which $25,000 was paid for by the UI.
The complete study is on the city's Web site at www.ci.champaign.il.us.