LynLake parking study finds plenty of spots

Garfield lot
The future of the Garfield lot and its 114 city-owned metered spaces is being examined now that a parking study of LynLake has been completed. Photo by Michelle Bruch

Plans for the potential redevelopment of a city-owned surface parking lot in LynLake can con-tinue with new information courtesy of a recently completed study: parking is not in short supply.

The study, conducted by Stantec and commissioned by a group of local business and property owners known as the LynLake Parking Committee, aimed to give a clear picture of parking supply and demand in the neighborhood and examine the role of the 114-space lot near Lake & Garfield, just south of the Midtown Greenway.

The study found that 64% of the 3,667 private and publicly owned parking spots in LynLake are in use at peak hours.

“We have a parking problem, but it is not necessarily lack of inventory,” said Morgan Luzier, who co-owns Balance Fitness Studios and chairs the parking committee.

Usage rate

The study examined all parking — on and off-street — between 28th and 31st streets and Aldrich and Harriet avenues (including the used car lot at Lake and Harriet) by conducting detailed counts on three days in August 2018 — a Thursday, a Saturday and a Sunday. The busiest times for parking in LynLake were 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The lowest rates were 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. On-street parking was 72% occupied in the neighborhood on average, and off-street parking was 43% occupied. The 1,274 spaces in private residential garages in the study area were not counted toward usage rate.

The Garfield lot’s 114 metered spaces represent 3% of the total parking in LynLake.

Even at peak parking times in LynLake, the Garfield lot was not full, the study found. The lot was more than 50% occupied at 9 a.m. Thursday and 6 p.m. Saturday.

“The bulk of our effort is not just what’s out there, it’s what’s being used,” Ralph DiNisco, one of the study’s authors, told the LynLake Parking Committee.

Parking in LynLake

Making improvements

Stantec gave recommendations of how to get more people to use the Garfield lot, including investing in lot improvements such as landscaping and electric vehicle parking, increasing signage and wayfinding efforts and adding meters to Garfield and Aldrich avenues, which currently have free on-street parking.

“Pricing works,” DiNisco said.

Officials from Minneapolis Public Works said the area has 14 different parking restrictions and that the city is in the process of simplifying its parking codes for metered spots. The city has debated adding meters to Garfield Avenue in the past, and officials said installing meters is a quick process.

Luzier said adding more wayfinding signage for drivers, bikers and pedestrians to locate shops and parking could be helpful for the neighborhood’s business community.

Future plans

The Garfield lot was funded in 1998 by $2.3 million in bonds that were paid off by special assessments paid by local businesses, with the final bond payment made in December 2018. Now development on the site is likely.

“I think something will happen there,” said Mark Read with Public Works, adding that the city wants to ensure whatever happens serves the best need for the most people.

Any redevelopment on the lot will look to a similar project at 29th & Aldrich, where the city once owned a 50-space lot. The Aldrich parking lot was sold several years ago for development, but includes 30 public, hourly parking spaces in an underground parking garage. The business owners that invested in the Garfield lot have been told redevelopment will similarly include public parking, ideally with more signage.

“Whatever happens in the Garfield lot can be what puts LynLake on the map,” Luzier said.