This project is the design and construction of a new downtown parking garage. The proposed location of the parking garage would be 5th Avenue South between 8th Street and 7th Street South. The site currently has 107 surface stalls that are 100% rented. It is strategically located between the high employment related areas in the southwest of the core (Lethbridge Centre and the Provincial Buildings) and the cultural precinct along 3rd Avenue South (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, CASA). A 376 stall parking garage is a consideration for this current City lot.The need for additional parking in downtown Lethbridge was acknowledged by the Public Realm and Transportation Study (PRATS).There are presently 5,418 parking stalls in the downtown. Of these 1,827 (34%) are on-street, 440 (8%) are off-street on City managed lands and 3,151 (58%) are off-street on privately heldland. All public off-street parking areas are 100% reserved and have waiting lists. For on-street parking, utilization rates of 85% (turnover frequency) are considered best practice. The southsectors of the downtown, especially around the Lethbridge Centre and Provincial Government buildings, have utilization rates that exceed 100% and parking pressure is being pushed into other areas such as the adjoining residential areas.
In addition to the current demand for off–street stalls there is no opportunity to accommodate short term parking off-street through scramble parking. In order to meet City bylaw requirements and tenant requirements the amount of parking has to increase to accommodate growth. Currently there are building/business leases that will exceed the off-street parking availability and will place additional pressure on street parking utilization. There is known short term demand for a minimum of 303 off-street stalls and no physical ability to accommodate this parking. Under the Land Use Bylaw, the City has limited ability to require a third party to provide additional parking. This will result in even greater utilization of on-street parking that exceeds utilization thresholds. PRATS also projected a need for an additional 900 off-street stalls in the longer term.With increased automobile ownership, the cost of land and a historical limitation on parking requirements for businesses in the core, parking is a challenge for business development.The downtown area is one of the highest employment areas in the City of Lethbridge. There has been a desire to maintain downtown as the centre for professional office, boutique retail, cultural and people oriented activities. These factors combined with current and expected parking demand suggests that a parking solution(s) is required. Demand for parking in the core is at a premium and a parkade would: