20 March 2009

Washington Park Garage Entrances

I noticed that 3CDC has updated their website with a Power Point presentation about the proposed Washington Park underground parking structure. While I am very excited about the new park extension, I am still kinda on the fence about an underground parking garage.

Below is an image showing in dark, the proposed parking garage entrances:

Here is the description of the intentions:
-To accommodate major events, two ingress/egress points are needed – one on Elm and one on Race.
-Elm Street access will have strong relationship with Music and Memorial Hall, sliding in between the existing tree lawn and the proposed concessions area.
-Race Street access will take advantage of the mid-block signalized intersection at 13th Street, building upon the idea of a major new gateway and arrival plaza
I think "gateway and arrival plaza" really means traffic clogged, oil-stained concrete sloping driveway to underground parking, but maybe they are planning to make it nice somehow.

I was a bit surprised to see that they were proposing a driveway entrance here, so far south into the park. I had assumed they would be on 14th Street, or at least closer to 14th, and go directly into the garage.

Here is a photo of the spot at 13th and Race at the park, where a new entrance is proposed for the garage:
Same area, diffeerent angle:
I have a few concerns about an entry here. First, I understand that the proposal is to perhaps make 13th Street 2-way. The problem with this is that for some reason, 13th Street between Vine and Elm is narrower than what is best for 2-way streets. It is only 3 lanes. 12th Street makes a good 2 way street because it has 4 lanes, 2 for parking and two for driving. If 13th is made 2-way, then one direction of traffic will be tight against pedestrians on the sidewalk, and would be unsafe, as parked cars make a good buffer for pedestrians.

Also, I had been hoping that 13th and Race would be a good place to change back to stop signs. By making it a 4-way stop, that is less likely. Studies show that "T" (3-way) intersections are generally safer.

If you look at the drawing above, you will see indications of bump-outs at the corner intersections. Will these really be built? I hope so, but this seems doubtful. They won't fit on 13th, and traffic engineers at the City seem to be against them.

As a bonus, here are schematics of the Bandstand and Toilets:


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. This is not a gateway/arrival plaza for anything but cars. It looks insignificant in the drawing, but this would be a larger empty paved space devoted to cars turning around, creating a pedestrian barrier between the street and the park. Are they proposing both access points, or one or the other?

Making 13th two-way will cause all kinds of traffic issues at that intersection, especially during larger events.

Maybe I missed this in an earlier discussion, but what is the need for parking? Isn't there a large garage west of Music Hall?

CityKin said...

^I thought the need for parking was partially triggered by the SCPA school requiring a certain number of dedicated parking spaces to meet State regs. The thinking was to make this serve that technical requirements, but also serve Music Hall.

BTW, they propose to have both entrances and exits built, one on Elm and one on Race.

Randy Simes said...

It's a tough situation. Parking is needed in OTR, and this is certainly better than surface parking that will come at the expense of historic structures and the urban form. At the same time I hope the execution of this is right and works well with the public space above it (ala Fountain Square).

Quimbob said...

The parking would certainly benefit the church sitting there.

Unknown said...

What about tunneling the entrance and exit under elm and using the vacant space that was going to be the garage between Memorial Hall and music hall if that makes sense to anyone

Anonymous said...

I'll admit that the grand gesture of the oval lawn aligned with the facade of Music Hall works well, but nearly everything else in this scheme is ill conceived. The basic concept of the ramp locations, other than being an obvious afterthought, seems to be that they are allowed to place parking only under the old school property, so rather than put the entrance at the logical location on 14th, they figure they can uproot a few dozen trees in the park and put the ramps there. You can see by looking closely at the drawing that the original design indicated some sort of pedestrian entrance at 13th St, which has been drawn over in very black ink to indicate an actual dark hole in the ground. A set of ramps in the right of way of 14th in the south lane would work better and wouldn't take up any parking spaces. Yes it would reduce the width of the street, but 14th street is a somewhat underutilized street anyway. It is also an entrance route that would put the traffic congestion coming into the area away the furthest away from the most pedestrians. They also propose removing or modifying a large percentage of the stone curbing that borders the park, which is historic fabric that will be gone forever. It would be more appropriate to propose reconstructing the iron fence. The proposed toilets, vending shack, and modified bandstand are terrible. Why do you think most public restrooms are a little light on privacy? To prevent illegal or otherwise inappropriate activity that might occur if the public can lock the door behind them, maybe? Does the bandstand really need handicapped access to it's tiny stage? Do you really want a sharply glowing Coke machine illuminating the park? Really? Whoever made these proposals is not a thoughtful person. I'm sorry. I started this post trying to use a professional tone to critique the proposal, but I can't help it sometimes. Please someone convince them to hire a qualified professional. You can't leave your cherished public space up to the whims of 3CDC.

Matt Scheidt

VisuaLingual said...

I think the party most responsible for this scheme is Human Nature, not 3CDC. If I'm remembering their presentation correctly, the rationale for lowering the band stand had more to do with making it a less desirable lookout spot for drug dealers, than it did with handicapped accessibility per se. Not to seem anti-access, but I think that the proposed changes to this structure would seriously hurt its formal integrity.

As for the entrances and exits to the parking garage, they do seem misplaced and invasive to me.

Quimbob said...

Would sound travel further from a higher bandstand ?
I am assuming it would.
Lowering it to thwart crime sounds like the same logic used to promote the destruction of stairways and other pedestrian pathways and bridges.

VisuaLingual said...

... or public stairs in Cincinnati.

5chw4r7z said...

Those entry/exit spots are horrible. I don't know the answer but imagined them much closer, if not on 14th.

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