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New Ramp Meets Needs for Parking and Housing

March 22, 2019 06:35 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Congestion and lack of parking in downtown Rochester will, hopefully, get a lot better after the city’s newest parking ramp opens Tuesday.

“It’s extremely aggravating,” said Matt Salerno, who works downtown, “there are not enough parking spots considering how many people work at the Mayo Clinic specifically.”

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Located at the corner of First Avenue and First Street SE with six floors of more than 600 parking spots, the city hopes Ramp 6 will help.

“Rochester, looking to be a leader in innovation, this parking ramp, as far as parking ramps go, definitely has some of the most innovative technologies,” said Chris Petree, Director of Public Works.

From lights that show you where empty spots are, to an app that shows you where you parked, the ramp – the first the city’s built-in 20 years – is more than high-tech.

“It was constructed with a lot of forward-thinking to anticipate needs in the future,” Petree said.

While the ramp is meant to meet the growing demand for downtown parking, the city sees it as a possible solution to another problem – the lack of affordable housing.

“The city put out a request for proposal, seeking proposals for an affordable housing project on top of the new parking ramp,” said Terry Spaeth, Rochester Assistant City Administrator.

The ramp was built to support 10 stories on top of it.

“The fact that we were able to design it, make improvements as we constructed the ramp with maybe not knowing – having a vision, but not a plan in place. We’re now set to start executing that plan,” Petree said.

The proposals are due back to the city in mid-June.

“We understand that land downtown is very valuable, so this provides another opportunity to essentially get a higher and better use, per se, out of an existing parcel of property,” Spaeth said.

The ramp will have bike lockers, public seating and art walls on the ground level.

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