Fulton and Diamond area to get more parking

January 18, 2009
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After years of asking, the East Fulton Business Association will finally receive.

It looks very probable that the business district will get some additional parking spaces to help alleviate the crunch that customers to the popular shopping area experience on a regular basis. The question is, how many? The answer is: not a whole lot.

Parking Commissioners recently agreed to look into purchasing a vacant lot near the intersection of Fulton Street and Diamond Avenue and build a public lot there.

One possibility commissioners considered was constructing a lot with eight spaces that would cost Parking Services about $100,000, a price that includes the cost of the property.

“It strikes me as being expensive for eight spaces,” said Parking Commissioner David Leonard of the per-space cost of $12,500.

“It’s far more expensive,” added Pam Ritsema, director of Parking Services.

Ritsema said the average cost of a space in a surface lot runs about $7,500. But this one is costlier, she said, because the lot is so small.

“It has to do with the size of the lot,” said Ritsema.

Another possibility would be less expensive. It involves going to the city’s Planning Commission and getting a variance from having to include a 10-foot-wide landscaped easement between the lot and the nearest house.

Without the easement, which Ritsema estimated at costing around $20,000, the lot could have 12 angled spaces and bring the per-space cost closer to the average.

Ritsema said going to the Planning Commission for a variance would probably delay the lot’s construction by roughly three months.

“We’ve been waiting five years, so another three months isn’t going to kill us,” said Christine Helms Maletic, the district’s representative and co-winner with developer Baird Hawkins of the 2008 John Logie Neighborhood Business Award.

So Parking Commissioners told Ritsema to look into getting rid of the easement and build a lot with the maximum number of spaces.

Ritsema said the East Fulton Business Association will have to pick up 10 percent of the lot’s cost, which is city policy, and her department has $130,000 set aside for neighborhood lots.

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