The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has proposed an 800 stall parking garageon the bank of the Mississippi River. The justification for the project, which requires a variance, is that new redevelopment of nearby surface lots has made parking too frustrating for bank employees and visitors.
The plan for the garage contains all sorts of good-feeling stuff like the “largest, most useable Open Green Space” which “can be developed to help interpret the past history of the site,” currently a surface parking lot. While this certainly will be a ramp to visit for a garage aficionado like myself, I wonder how pleasant a park with a massive driveway running through it will be?
The Fed doesn’t seem to have published the expected cost of the garage, but the nearby airport is currently constructing an 11 story garage with 5,000 stalls for $240 Million. At a comparable $48,000 per stall, this garage would cost around $38 million dollars.
Fortunately, the good folks of Minneapolis are aware of the problems more auto infrastructure will bring to their city and a group of them have begun organizing to “Halt the Ramp” (link requires facebook) online and in the streets! The group has been gathering signatures and encouraging letters to the City Planner Lindsey Silas, Mayor Jacob Frey, and Third Ward Council Member Steve Fletcher. Today, July 1st, is the last day to send letters so they will be seen by the planning commission.
The local Sierra Club has written a letter opposing the project and is seeking signatures to an online petition.
Every new parking stall is a 30 year commitment to undermine climate action, housing affordability, and traffic goals. The Federal Reserve Bank should expose more of the cost of parking to employees and visitors, offer additional compensation for employees who don’t drive to work, and aggressively pursue transportation demand management programs.
It is unclear at this time how much, if anything, employees at the bank pay to park in the nearby lots and the existing garage, but the Careers page for the bank says “parking is available in the Bank garage for all officers and select other employees.” According to the 2018 Fed report, there are 63 officers at the Minneapolis Fed and 927 full time employees. The bank provides a “commuter subsidy program that provides tax savings” and free indoor bike parking for workers who don’t drive.
The City of Minneapolis should develop a comprehensive performance-based on-street parking management program. No one should be building 800 stall standalone garages in the middle of a vibrant city.
Sign the Sierra Club North Star Chapter’s petition and Reject the Ramp!