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Parking Posts

Map of the Day: Duluth’s Canal Parking

Canal Park Map

After a ridiculously warm weekend, it seems like spring has arrived early. Before you know it, thousands of Minneapolis-types like myself will be driving up Interstate 35 to the cool shores of Gitche Gumee.

Since its post-industrial low point a few decades ago, Duluth has built Canal Park into one of the top-drawing tourist spots in the state. It’s definitely a great place, but I continue to be amazed by how much prime Canal Park real estate is occupied by pavement for storing cars. After a visit last fall, I made this map and found there are 21 acres of surface parking in Canal Park.

Canal Park parking has been … um … streamlined

The Duluth News Tribune reported on Monday that rates have changed at three parking lots in Canal Park. Two examples are the Northwest Iron lot (between Grandma’s Saloon and the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace) and the Lighthouse lot (near the lighthouse pier). The minimum rate is now $3 for three hours, up from last year’s $2 for two hours.

The DNT notes:

Parking Operations Specialist Mark Bauer said the city decided to make the changes to streamline the parking process.

“Instead of trying to interpret and guess how much time you’re going to be there, we thought it would be easier to just simply pay for this three-hour block of time,” Bauer said. “It simply covers you up to that three-hour limit.”

There has been no word yet on whether hotels in the area will be streamlining their processes by invoking a three-night minimum stay or whether bars will enforce a three-drink minimum for customer convenience.

Noooooooooo!

oh give a guy a break

Downtown Duluth meter hours

OK, did I miss a memo or something? When the hell did the downtown meter enforcement time get extended to 9 o’clock? And who thought that was a good idea when we’re trying to get people downtown to frequent shops and restaurants?

Lakewalk Parking

I went down to the Lakewalk in Canal Park a few days ago after not being down there for a few years and was very disappointed. First realizing that there is a minimum $2 charge for parking. What person knows how long they will be gone? Going for a walk, run, etc or stopping to have a bite to eat, let the kids play. I paid my $2 and made it back to my car in time, but within 30 seconds of starting my car, I was informed by the meter maid, that my time was up. I even looked into other places where parking used to be free. Nope it’s all gone. I will never go down there again and am certainly passing the word around to look somewhere else for Duluth’s beauty.

Survey: Bike Parking in Duluth’s Multimodal Transit Center

Building on the popularity of its on-bus bike carriers, the DTA wants to gauge local demand for both secure (key fob-access) bike-parking areas and regular bike racks as part of its design for the new multi-modal transit center in downtown Duluth.
Please take a moment to fill out this short survey if you would be interested in using this type of bike storage.

Am I just stupid, or are the Interstate Parking Lot Automatic Systems difficult?

I used an Interstate lot in downtown Duluth today thinking it would be a nice solution to not having quarters or cash and also not knowing how long my meeting was going to run. As is often the case in Duluth, I was unable to read my spot number and was also unable to read the spot number for the neighboring spot due to snow and ice. So I paid for 2 hours of parking using my license plate number. About five minutes before my two hours was up I called the 866 number listed on the receipt to extend time.

Problem number one encountered is that the receipt listed two lot numbers. On the top portion of the ticket, it says Lot 2561. On the very bottom of the ticket it says “to extend time at location 3110.” When I called the 866 number I was unsure which number was supposed to be entered.

East Superior Street Parking

It seems to me that in recent years, with the additions of Zeitgeist Arts, Black Water Lounge, Carmody Irish Pub, Tycoons, etc. (not to mention the fabulous new product additions at the Last Place on Earth) the area surrounding the NorShor Theatre has gone from being a really easy place to find a parking spot to one where you either have to get really lucky or park in a ramp.

I mention this mostly just to stir up the pot so people can bitch about progress, but I also want to throw out two observational questions:

1) Are you like me and fear parking in ramps because so many TV shows and movies when you were growing up had scenes where people get ambushed and shot in parking ramps?

2) Doesn’t it seem like kind of trap that the Sheraton ramp is free at night … until 2 a.m.? So, you know, go get drunk — the parking is free. But make sure you move your car before you get a cab home.

UMD Ticketing

I’m newish to town and still trying to figure out regulations. Can I get some advice here?

I live on Grandview Ave, down by Eighth Street. You don’t need a college permit to park there. I forgot to switch sides yesterday. My fault. I screwed up. Normally I remember. I saw the ticket on my car and was prepared to pay my fine to the city of Duluth.

Instead, it said UMD Parking Services. I called UMD Police to say that I am not in a “Permit” zone, so why were their police ticketing me. She stated that “sometimes the UMD Police do go to streets nearby to look for infractions.” Nothing against her, she was very nice on the phone and this isn’t about her, she was just doing her job.

Shouldn’t there be a clearly marked zone for where UMD can ticket, like the permit areas? Can UMD ticket anywhere they feel is close enough. Is Fourth street close enough? What’s the line?

Again, I messed up and forgot. Had the ticket said city of Duluth, I would be mailing the check today.

What are your thoughts on this one? It kind of irks me that they can ticket what they deem is close enough.

Parking Lots and Trees

This article sums up something that’s been needling me about downtown Duluth. All of the parking lots the hospitals seem to think they need could be greatly improved with a smattering of trees.

MinnPost: “Needed to fix parking blight: Lots of trees

Reduced Parking Access to Lakewalk?

For the second time in as many weeks, I attempted to park near the Beacon Point Condos only to find parking severely restricted. Why do I feel like I’ve been taken in a give an inch, take a foot situation? It was bad enough the city permitted Beacon Point in the first place, but it was allowed under the premise that we’d all still have the same access to the area and so on. But I’m left feeling like an Apache who was told his reservation needs to be moved, and oh yeah, now it’s smaller too.

I’m not a native of Duluth. I moved here specifically for the availability of public land, parks, trails, etc. A piece of our freedom has been diminished, if anyone else cares. The big property taxes paid by the owners of Beacon Point appear to have swayed the local parking bureaucrats into closing the parking lot gate over the stormwater tank. Am I missing something here? Runners, walkers, and anyone else should have a fair opportunity to park in this area.

Nickels, Dimes and Quarters Parking

After scrambling around through the spare change pockets in my car for quarters, I got to the meters outside the St. Louis County/MN State Office building only to find that I don’t need quarters there anymore!
New Duluth meters now accepting nickles, dimes and quarters

This welcome improvement is, I guess, part of the extensive remodeling that has occurred in the building over the last year or so. Speaking of nickel and dimed, most of the cost of this remodeling came from the failed Obama stimulus package. Here’s (some of) what we got for the money:

Previously, clients needed to visit four different program areas, located on four different floors of the building. This created a complex structural maze adding even more confusion to the sometimes daunting task of accessing appropriate government services. But, in addition to benefiting clients, the new Central Client Area will improve the use of building space, mitigate security related issues, lower cleaning and maintenance costs, and reduces the building’s overall utility bill. The project encompassed the entire first floor of the Government Services Center, and includes, centralized intake for Public Health and Human Services, secure interview rooms, shared reception spaces, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades, and general remodeling upgrades to meet current building codes for professional office buildings.

Source: St. Louis County Press Release

Related: In May UMD’s Lake Voice News wrote about a Downtown Resident with thousands in parking fines and it looked at some of the concerns about downtown meters, including the fact that they only accept quarters.

One more free day in Canal Park

Parking meter on Lake Ave. Note the May 15 start date.

If you think that Canal Park belongs to Duluthians and not just to the tourists, you have one more day to freely utilize that right. Emphasis on the free. Paid parking goes in effect this Sunday, at  least at the meters and presumably at the paid lots as well.

Stroll the piers. Gawk at a 1000-footer. Deconstruct the meaning in public art. It’s your birthright, Duluth.

For today, you don’t have to worry about the gatekeepers at the hotel parking lots and their clipboards.

You don’t yet have to worry about the eager tow companies in the private lots, who will boot, tow, or just flop upon every car whose driver heads to Coldstone before hitting Caribou Coffee.

Toss some rocks at the beach at the corner of the lake. Enjoy your city. Without a roll of quarters in your pocket.

Downtown Duluth Meters Extended?

I was just downtown and parked at the meters in front of Pizza Luce and the Technology Village. I noticed that the hours that the meters were enforced was until 9pm.  It looked like there was a new sticker covering up the old one.  When did this change, and does anyone know if it is actually enforced?  I just noticed it, could have been there for a while before.

Hearing voices in the parking ramp

I’ve had the occasion to park in the Tech Village ramp a few times in the past week, and while I was able to exit promptly each time (unlike others’ experiences), I did notice something odd about the machine that takes validated tickets as you drive out.