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State Street Garage Expansion Gets Underway in September 
Preliminary work on the City’s $11 million expansion of the State Street Garage begins next month. But the hard construction – the first steps in adding two parking decks and 570 new parking spaces – gets underway the first week of October. 

The construction team, headed by general contractor Christman, will be setting up a large crane to hoist and secure in place pre-fabricated concrete slab decks. 

The work will begin this fall with the crane positioned on Central Street, so the section of the road east of the garage will be completely closed. That phase of work will be winding down just before the December holidays.

In January, Central Street will reopen, and the crane will be relocated to the west side of the garage, closing at least one lane of State Street. 

The garage expansion is scheduled to be completed in June 2019.

Throughout the nine months of construction, the biggest impact will be on parkers using the garage, according to the City’s Downtown Coordinator, Rick Emmett.

“We know that people who live and work downtown, as well as visitors who come to see a movie or a concert, will be inconvenienced,” Emmett said. “The City and the Public Building Authority have done our best to try and minimize the inconvenience.

“We hope people understand that this is a temporary, unavoidable hassle and that, in the long term, we’re adding more parking to better serve visitors, residents and workers as our downtown continues to grow and blossom.”

Starting the first week of October, construction will take slightly more than half the garage’s current 1,082 spaces out of use; 528 spaces will remain in use.

The number of available spaces will fluctuate throughout the project, based on safety precautions and where work is being done. For example, at year’s end, the number of available parking spaces will increase to 741. But starting Jan. 7, 2019, the number of available spaces will drop to 573.

The City and PBA have partnered with the Tennessee Valley Authority to obtain a temporary licensing agreement involving Summer Place Garage, 502 W. Summit Hill Drive. The current 575 State Street Garage daytime monthly parkers will be offered parking in Summer Place during the construction project. 

These parkers would then be able to return to parking in the State Street Garage when the expansion is finished next summer.

If the daytime monthly parkers choose to not park in Summer Place, another option would be parking at the Civic Coliseum Garage. The monthly parking fee at the Coliseum is $15, with free Knoxville Area Transit trolley service from the garage to points throughout downtown.

Almost 90 residential monthly parkers will be relocated to a surface parking lot just north of the garage.

Meanwhile, there are two technological improvements that will help with traffic flow in and out of the garage, starting next month.

Before the State Street Garage work commences, a phone app and website will be set up that will inform motorists where real-time parking is available in City-owned garages. (Specific details will be announced once the technology is in place.) 

A year ago, sensors that count available parking spaces in real time were installed in Market Square Garage. The same space-counting system is being installed in the State Street, Locust Street and Main Street garages.

The technology allows a motorist approaching a garage to see a digital display showing the number of available parking spaces at that minute. He or she can avoid the frustration of driving around and not finding a space in a full garage. Better yet, the motorist can visit the website or use the phone app to determine ahead of time which garage to drive to – and, for visitors, they can get walking distances, directions and help finding their car at the end of their visit.

A second improvement is the addition of credit card and debit card machines at City garage exits. So instead of having to wait in a line of vehicles to pay an attendant, a motorist can go to any exit and pay using a card. Previously, the automated exits could only be used by monthly parkers with access keys. Soon, all exits will become universal public exits.
Posted by ptravis On 29 August, 2018 at 12:09 PM