Whether you agree or not that there is a big parking problem in downtown Menlo Park today, it should be clear that one WILL exist once the Greenheart and Stanford projects are completed, and an even bigger one, if the city is successful in attracting more residents to downtown with appealing civic improvements. It’s important to keep in mind that any big solution like a parking structure (s) will take several years to build IF we decide its a good idea. The Specific Plan identified three likely locations for parking structures. So what should Menlo Park do in 2015?
I recommend that our city council:
- Determine whether Menlo Park can afford a parking structure. Develop a funding strategy and identify potential private and public partners.
- Evaluate above ground, underground and hybrid structures. Evaluate different architectural designs and landscaping.
- Assess the trade-offs of building one or more at a time, e.g., cost, impact on downtown during construction.
- Develop short term solutions to current parking problems which appear most troublesome around lunch time mid-week. There are hundreds of unused parking spaces within a short 5-minute shuttle ride to downtown. That could be used for daily permit parking and would free up downtown parking spaces for shoppers.
Downtown Parking Today
A look at existing downtown parking and recommendations in the Specific Plan. View now.
Parking Structure Building Cost Estimates
RSMeans is a leading provider of construction cost data for hundreds of cities in North America. I have consulted the online information they provide for building parking structures in Palo Alto in order to estimate the cost of building similar ones in Menlo Park. Please note RSMeans provides 2013 data so the numbers are lower than costs in 2015 or the future. My goal is to simply “ball park” estimate different options. For my analysis I assumed that 2015 costs were 30% higher than 2013. This may still be low given the strong local economy.
If Menlo Park were to build Parking Structure #3 as identified in the Specific Plan 438 NET new parking spaces would be created (650 new minus 212 lost).
Option 1 – Build surface and above ground parking structure
- The estimated cost per space: $31,700.
- Total cost: 650 x $31,700 = $20.6M
- Cost per NET ADDED parking space = $20.6M /438 = $47,000
Option 2 – Build surface and an underground parking structure.
- The estimated cost per space of underground parking is $37,300.
- Total cost = 650 x $37,300 = $24.2M
- Cost per NET ADDED parking space = $24.2/438 = $55,250
Menlo Park survey: Most residents want above-ground parking facility (The Almanac – January 14, 2016)