New Broad Ripple garage could ease parking crunch

A new 350-space parking garage unveiled Monday is planned for the southwest corner of College and Broad Ripple avenues.
walker.jpgKevin Schafer knows he's in for a long walk when he stays late at work.

The street in front of his Broad Ripple home is prime parking for people hoping to enjoy the night life the village offers. By early evening, all of the spots are taken, forcing Schafer to park blocks away.

"When I bought the house, I thought I was just a bit removed from prime parking," he said, "but I'm right in the middle of it."

That could change by next summer. Like a lot of folks living in Broad Ripple, he's hoping a $15 million parking garage and a streetside residential permitting program will help return the neighborhood to the residents.

City officials on Monday announced that Newpoint Parking, Keystone Construction, Ratio Architects and Walker Parking Consultants had the winning bid for the three-floor parking garage at the southwest corner of Broad Ripple and College avenues. Replacing a pizza joint and a closed gas station, it will have 350 parking spaces, first-floor businesses and a police substation.

Work is expected to start this summer and last a year.

"Over the course of the next year," said Tom Healy of the Broad Ripple Village Association, "we're going to see this eyesore transformed into a dynamic village gateway."

The city will contribute $6.35 million to construction through the ParkIndy deal. Indianapolis received $20 million from the 50-year parking meter lease up front and will get a share of revenue that is estimated at $363 million to $620 million. By state law, those proceeds must be spent on street improvements and infrastructure in the meter zones.

"Broad Ripple Village has long needed a garage of this magnitude to alleviate parking issues and allow for implementation of a residential parking permit system on neighborhood streets," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "Visitors to the Broad Ripple area will have a safe, secure, well-lit area to park their cars, while residents and their guests will more easily be able to find on-street parking near their homes."

Details of the residential permit program are still being discussed. It's unclear yet how many or which spaces would require permits.

A 2007 study estimated there were 3,700 parking spaces in Broad Ripple.

Bruce Buchanan hopes the garage will make Broad Ripple more accessible. Co-owner of Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers, he attended Broad Ripple High School, still lives in the area and advocates for improvements.

"This will change the perception of people who say, 'Oh, I don't want to go to Broad Ripple for dinner or to shop because there's no place to park.' "

The garage's private operators will own it and set market rates for parking, using the money for garage expenses, but the city will have oversight and the ability to cap the rates. Parking in Broad Ripple lots often costs about $5.

An automated pay system will be open around the clock.
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