Parking Near U Stadium
The ordinance I put forward to help businesses with existing parking lots allow visitors to the U stadium park in their lots has passed the Council unanimously.
Here's a little history. Back in 2006, the Council put a Pedestrian Oriented (PO) Overlay District on the University corridor, in advance of the Central Corridor LRT project. The idea is that we want to have more active uses on the street, and fewer auto-oriented uses, when this major transit project comes through.
In 2009, the U stadium opened. Businesses, such as restaurants, that have existing parking lots attempted to rent out spaces in their lots to U stadium visitors. However, because the PO district disallows new auto-oriented uses, they were unable to get commercial parking licenses. They strongly advocated for this to change, and some of their arguments were compelling. For example, they made a good case that, far from helping their businesses, the opening of the stadium had actually harmed them, by convincing regular customers not to come to a congested area on game days.
I worked with staff, the neighborhood and affected businesses to craft a solution that will allow businesses that already have parking lots to open their lots to U stadium visitors for 15 days a year, more than the number of Gopher home games. This action also defends the purpose of the PO overlay, by not allowing commercial parking in any new lots and by limiting the number of days a lot can be used for stadium parking.
I believe that this compromise will help businesses defray some of the increased costs and loss of business resulting from the U stadium, while still promoting pedestrian-oriented uses on University and, most importantly, protecting the Prospect Park area from the blight of acres and acres of parking lots that can be found in areas near other stadiums - such as the Metrodome - that do not have these sorts of protections.