The parking lot on Union Pacific Railroad property at the end of F Street is expected to be open for use by Memorial Day weekend, May 25. City staff received the signed lease April 15 from Union Pacific (UP) officials.
Approximately 60 parking spaces will be available, including four to five over-sized lots. Planned improvements to the lot include additional fencing and installation of parking blocks. Currently, the land is being surveyed and design plans finalized. The turn-around at the end of F Street is expected to stay open while improvements are made.
City Administrator Dara MacDonald said there have been numerous efforts to receive legitimate access to Union Pacific Railroad property across the Arkansas River. “We appreciate Union Pacific’s willingness to work with us now to provide much needed parking downtown. We hope additional parking will help downtown businesses and their merchants, as we’ve heard for a long time downtown parking isn’t adequate.”
After negotiating with UP officials in August 2012, Salida City Council approved a lease for use of the property. However, UP officials declined to sign the lease at that time. MacDonald said recent conversations with UP officials have included public relations and real estate staff, which may have assisted in getting the lease executed. Council approved the recent lease on April 2. The City will pay $10,000 a year to lease the property.
In addition, Council approved a parking lot lease for property at 323 West First Street March 19, which will add about 60 new parking spaces. Parking blocks will be installed at this property and it is expected to be open for public parking by May 25.
Overnight parking will not be allowed in the new parking lots, but there will not be a time limit on daily parking. The City encourages business owners and employees to consider parking in the new lots once opened in order to provide additional downtown parking for merchants and visitors.
Due to the addition of two parking lots and in an effort to improve downtown access, the City installed bike racks in parking spaces in front of Currents and The Fritz last week. There are two bike racks in each location.
The City’s efforts towards improving parking and accessibility in downtown have gained traction in recent weeks. In addition to the new parking spaces for bikes and cars, Council approved in-kind assistance to LiveWell Chaffee County for the purpose of installing more bike racks in public parks as well as providing bike safe routes to schools.