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Proposal for Mass Ave parking doesn’t add up

April 16, 2016

This letter is in response to Gene Zink’s April 11 letter regarding his group’s (SCP Indy Square ) proposal to redevelop the IPS facility on Mass Ave. In Mr. Zink’s letter, he states that there will be 1,100 spaces available for public parking. He writes that “these spaces will support the new development while also helping to relieve many of the issues raised about on-street, neighborhood and entertainment parking.”

Unfortunately, when one puts a calculator to the SCP Indy Square Proposal, it in fact ends up having a big negative parking impact, almost the worst of any of the proposals submitted. While the total number of spaces in the SCP proposal—1,400—sounds like a lot, it gets eaten up quickly.

Here is my analysis of the parking demands generated by what SCP wants to put on the site:

• 605 residential units @ 1.5 spaces per unit (this has long been our preferred ratio when reviewing new projects in our neighborhood) = 907.5 spaces

• 250,000 square feet of office and retail @ one space per 250 square feet = 1,000 spaces

• 150-room hotel. Let’s say 200 spaces.

• 6,500-square-foot day care = 26 spaces

Therefore, just to support itself, the SCP Indy Square project will need a minimum of 2,133.5 spaces—leaving a deficit of 733.5 spaces.

Certainly there is some synergy between uses, assuming the office users aren’t wanting to park at the same time as the residential users. But the retail users will be wanting to park at the same time, and 140,000 square feet of the 250,000 square feet above is retail rather than office.

So, as anyone can see there isn’t going to be much, if any, available public parking if this project is built as proposed. In fact this project could turn hundreds of cars loose on the area searching for somewhere to park during peak demand periods.

I am sure the developer will point to changing demographics, saying some residents won’t have cars at all (I know few people around here who don’t own a car), and that the proposed bus mass transit system and rising use of Blue Indy electric cars will depress demand. These things are all very speculative, and we cannot count on any having a real impact for years if not decades.

Developers need to be realistic about what they are proposing, not depend on pie in the sky predictions that will only be valid after sweeping changes in society have occurred.

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Shawn Miller
Chatham Arch Neighborhood Association parking committee

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