Janesville73.7°

More stalls restricted in downtown Janesville parking plaza

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Marcia Nelesen
July 31, 2012

— About 40 more parking stalls were scheduled to be closed this morning on the downtown parking plaza, bringing to 90 the number of stalls closed out of the plaza's total of 246.

About 50 stalls were closed in early July after a consultant, Bloom Companies, found possible structural problems.

Bloom has since evaluated the understructure of the entire deck and recommended the restricted parking area be expanded until repairs are completed, according to a city news release.

Repair cost is estimated at about $136,000, said Carl Weber, director of public works.

While most of the girders that support the concrete parking deck are in satisfactory condition, girders in 10 locations are seriously deteriorated and require repair.

The recommended repairs are similar to those completed at the plaza in 2004. They consisted of bolting steel supports to the existing piers to provide additional support for the deteriorated girders, according to the release.

City staff will seek bids for repairs and submit them to the city council at its Aug. 27 meeting. Limited repairs in strategic locations will be done first in hopes of reopening stalls and reducing the number that are out of service until the project is completed.

Interim limited repairs could reopen 35 stalls by the end of August, with all stalls to be reopened by early fall.

Bloom estimates it would be four years before other girders show similar deterioration, according to the release.

Annual inspections will be done to monitor the conditions.

Staff believe the recommended repairs will provide the city time it needs to develop replacement parking for the plaza.

The plaza is 50 years old. City officials don't expect the state Department of Natural Resources to allow reconstruction and have estimates the plaza will be demolished sometime in the next decade.

Other parking is available nearby in city parking facilities at River Street just north of Court Street, at the northeast corner of River Street and West Milwaukee Street, in the 100 block of South Main Street and within the Parker Drive Ramp.

City staff will suggest to the council that the city build alternative parking in advance of tearing down the parking plaza, Weber said.

"We've been exploring a number of opportunities, including making better use of city facilities that are underutilized at this point," Weber said.

The alternative parking spots might not be as close, "but they're darned near as close," he said.

Jay Winzenz, assistant city manager, said other changes to downtown parking will be made to ease any parking shortage, including changing the number of all-day and two-hour parking to meet the needs of downtown visitors.

Jackie Wood, co-owner of the nearby Olde Towne Mall, said she has heard no complaints about parking from visitors or from renters since the 50 parking stalls were closed in early July. She said she would have to wait and see what the latest round of closures brings.



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