KFnet in T-Town

Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:26am

Does Downtown Need Another Parking Garage?

Via The News Tribune:

...the city received the first-ever financial analysis of the city’s newly integrated parking system, which combines management and operations of five off-street municipal lots and garages with those of 150 newly introduced on-street parking pay stations.

That analysis concluded that the system, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, will fall into debt in 2013 and not climb out until 2025.

So, the questions are: Does downtown Tacoma need another parking garage and should the City help pay for/subsidize it?

comments [39]  |  posted under elks, garage, mcmenamin's, parking, tacoma


by fredo on 2/7/2012 @ 8:43am
Kevin, I don't know if we need another parking garage DT, but I don't see any reason why the taxpayers should be entangled in any further public/private partnerships. These have a way of turning out badly for the taxpayers. If the McMennimins want a parking garage they certainly have the resources to build it.

by inbloodyrise on 2/7/2012 @ 8:55am
mcmenamin has already said they don't really need parking for their business to succeed but it will be a good location once the streetcar is running up the hill. park downtown and ride to the mall!

by NineInchNachos on 2/7/2012 @ 9:02am
no no no no no no. for fuck sake no.

by tacoma1 on 2/7/2012 @ 9:03am
The only parking business the city should be involved with is curbside parking. No more city funded parking lots. IMHO.

by KevinFreitas on 2/7/2012 @ 9:13am
My answers to my questions in the blog post above: No and no. I completely agree with @tacoma1 and would go further to say the City should sell off all stakes they own in any non-curbside parking lot. Be a way to earn some money to help fill the budget gap and get out of a failing business.

by Jesse on 2/7/2012 @ 9:30am
Since the Pleasants/Moses building looks dead, there's no ROI. Since there's no ROI, it turns from an investment to a gave-away... so probably shouldn't be built.

by tacoma1 on 2/7/2012 @ 9:44am
I kinda like NIN's response. It seems to be clear and says it all

by fredo on 2/7/2012 @ 9:53am
Thank you to everyone for agreeing with me. This is a first!

by TacomaBikeRanch on 2/7/2012 @ 11:07am
No. More. Parking Garages. PLEASE.

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 2/7/2012 @ 11:33am
if the garage is indeed OK'd and built, will r. r. hold another ribbon cutting ceremony?

by KevinFreitas on 2/7/2012 @ 11:35am
@Joel413 brings up a valid point on Twitter: What about the fact that the building next to the Elks would have offices and housing on top? Does a mixed use situation change anyone's opinions?

I say it doesn't change whether the City should get involved. It does change the benefits of a new parking garage but I want whatever access to parking to still allow for street-level retail/offices first and parking ramp access second.

by NineInchNachos on 2/7/2012 @ 11:41am
I pledge a proper ribbon cutting! Great idea!

by cisserosmiley on 2/7/2012 @ 12:27pm
It would be nice to have extra spaces available on Friday nights.

by Maria on 2/7/2012 @ 1:01pm
The city definitely doesn't "need" another parking garage/lot. However--with this location having retail, a restaurant, event space and apartments, it might actually benefit from an underground parking structure nearby. I can't imagine all those residents and event attendees trying to find on-street parking.

I'm not a fan of more parking, but I think sometimes making progress in development will mean the city is adding more useful parking structures (underground, attached to blocks of retail and residences, attractive on street level). Perhaps there'll be a time when the ugliest and least useful of the older lots/garages are torn down for better development.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/7/2012 @ 1:09pm
Raze it, pave it.

It's the E. Anderson Method for fun and profit!

by KevinFreitas on 2/7/2012 @ 1:21pm
@Maria -- Good perspective! I like the balance between urban development progress and making sure the parking doesn't interfere with that.

by Maria on 2/7/2012 @ 3:10pm
Wow, some interesting comments coming from the City Council meeting right now (via twitter.com/CallaghanPeter):

--TAC econ development now says McMenamins doesn't need/want any stalls in garage under proposed apt building next door.

--TAC parking analysis says revenue from proposed garage is not enough to cover debt service. Developer only commits to 111 stalls of 260.

--So TAC council must decide whether to commit all for a parking garage in what is now an apt complex with little/no relation to Elks project.

by tacoma1 on 2/7/2012 @ 6:34pm
So what happened? Do the tax payers own a new unwanted parking lot, or has reason prevailed?

by Maria on 2/8/2012 @ 12:23am
Update from the News Tribune:


by KevinFreitas on 2/8/2012 @ 7:54am
Yeah, it's still a no for me. The City could use more mixed use but not if it means us shouldering 120 parking spots (out of 250) the tenants won't guarantee a lease on when the City is already dealing with tons of parking that will put the parking fund into debt. Plus the up-front construction costs?

by NineInchNachos on 2/8/2012 @ 8:04am
use the 10 mill to expand the Link. fuck parking!

by glynnjamin on 2/8/2012 @ 8:07am
Am I crazy or would $10M be better spent extending the streetcar up the hill to Stadium High? Giving more people direct access to the Elks Building should satisfy McM's needs, the existing parking structures at Division & St Helens should provide enough "park & ride" space for those looking to head downtown or to the dome from the neighborhoods at the top of the hill. Assuming no new trains are purchased, $10M should cover a new stop at the top of the hill as well as all of the needed track. Stadium Way is plenty wide enough already to support track so no RoW would need to be purchased until reaching the top.

by The Jinxmedic on 2/8/2012 @ 8:13am
Or extending the bLINK to Salishan, as originally planned.

by NineInchNachos on 2/8/2012 @ 8:14am
extending is better than parking

by tacoma1 on 2/8/2012 @ 10:09am
Just to be clear, and I'm definitely in favor of extending T-link, but we need more than $10 M to get anywhere meaningful. $10M is probably only 12% of what we need to get up to TG.

And it is the T- Link not The f'n b-link. Call it by the correct name ootherwise your bashing it and denigrating it and dooming it to never be more than it currently is. IMHO.

by Jesse on 2/8/2012 @ 10:22am
$10m should lay a half mile worth of track - unless ST is involved - then it's only enough for ten feet.

by NineInchNachos on 2/8/2012 @ 10:34am
maybe another stop ? where does rob Mckenna need to get off?

by fredo on 2/8/2012 @ 10:38am
What does the parking garage discussion have to do with streetcar lines? I must have missed something.

by glynnjamin on 2/8/2012 @ 10:45am
$10M would lay far more than half mile of track. Assuming we give up the idea that Central Link trains will ever run into Tacoma and stop building to support heaver trains at a separate grade, we could run a single line of track up Stadium against the cliff side, remove the cliff-side parking, and drop a station right where E, Division, and Stadium come together and you've now opened up a ton more folks to use the thing for super cheap.
They build 6 miles of track, plus stations, plus a maintenance barn in Portland for $56M so I think we can add 1 station and 1 mile of track for $10M.

by tacoma1 on 2/8/2012 @ 10:49am
1) better allocation of funds
2) the more T-Link line we have the fewer unused parking spaces we need to build.
For example Tacoma dome has 1,800 parking spaces, seats only 23K people, and some transit before 7:00 PM. Century Link has 2,000 parking spaces, seats 65K people and has tons o transit all night long.

by fredo on 2/8/2012 @ 10:53am
Did the council indicate that if they didn't fund a parking garage they would be inclined to fund streetcars?

by KevinFreitas on 2/8/2012 @ 10:59am
@fredo: I think people are just talking related alternates they'd rather see our limited funds go towards. Parking and transportation are tied tightly enough together it makes good sense to think of better ways to spend that money a) if it even exists in the first place and b) our leaders are actually considering paying for more parking.

by NineInchNachos on 2/8/2012 @ 11:00am
welcome to the internet!

by fredo on 2/8/2012 @ 11:06am

Don't let tacoma1 suck u in. It's hard, I know, but ultimately he is going to twist the conversation into a "public doesn't pay enough for transit subsidies" rant or anti-automobile tangent.

by NineInchNachos on 2/8/2012 @ 11:08am
exsqueeze me, but any anti-parking garage thread IS an anti-automobile tangent.

by tacoma1 on 2/8/2012 @ 11:21am
Since the question of this thread is: does Downtown Tacoma need another f'n parking lot? Any discussion on ways to minimize the need for parking is totally on topic IMHO. That includes St Helen's becoming a complete street with better bike lanes and pedestrian paths which is planned and funded, and extending T-Link which is planned but only partially funded.


by fredo on 2/8/2012 @ 11:29am
Why do we need to be concerned with "minimizing the need for parking DT?" That's why this project won't pencil out. By all accounts there is virtually no demand for parking spaces in that part of town. Any effort by Tacoma to minimize parking demand is like an anorexic trying to minimize her weight problem.

by tacoma1 on 2/8/2012 @ 2:03pm
Well it certainly is unanimous that a parking lot that doesn't pencil out is unnecessary.

by JesseHillFan on 2/8/2012 @ 3:03pm
How about some more bike racks DT please.Seriously lacking in that area for those of us whom prefer to travel,visit,shop,commute by cycling.


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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