Schenectady County

City to redo busy parking lot

The Metroplex Development Authority this fall plans to conduct a complete overhaul of its busiest do

The Metroplex Development Authority this fall plans to conduct a complete overhaul of its busiest downtown parking lot, located behind Proctors off Clinton Street.

The project is expected to cost more than $500,000, but Metroplex will not have a firm financial number until bids are returned, said Chairman Ray Gillen. The work is to begin in September or October.

“The lot hasn’t been done since the 1980s. It needs to be regraded, basically from scratch,” Gillen said. “We have deferred dealing with it while we did everything else.”

Gillen did not know how long the overhaul would take, saying the bids would spell out the project’s length. Nevertheless, Metroplex already has a contingency plan for traffic during the work, since the lot is a favorite of Proctors’ patrons.

“It’s a major landscaping project and a portion of the lot will be closed. We will stage the work and use the [Broadway] garage and the rest of our lots as backups,” Gillen said.

Proctors’ patrons can use the Broadway parking garage for free, Gillen said. It is safe and clean. The garage contains 25 cameras covering all entrances and stairwells. Also, a truck belong to Laz Parking, which operates the lots and garage under contract to Metroplex, circulates through the surface lots and the garage every hour between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In addition, Laz staffs the garage from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and from 3 to 11 p.m. on weekends.

Metroplex purchased seven off-street parking lots from the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. in 2004 for $1 million, spread over 20 years. It also took over operation of the Broadway parking garage, assuming more than $4.7 million in debt the city owed on the five-story structure.

There are 2,066 parking spaces in the entire Metroplex system, Gillen said. “Buying the lots and garage was one of the best decisions we ever made,” he said.

Since 2004, Metroplex has spent more than $1 million to reconstruct, landscape and restripe most of the surface lots. It also upgraded the parking garage, installing new lighting and security cameras as part of a network of wireless cameras being installed downtown.

Metroplex added an eighth surface lot this year behind the Center City complex to accommodate additional visitors and employees coming to downtown. But it may lose one lot, called Broadway South, to the Schenectady Museum at some future date.

The museum wants the parking lot to build a new science facility measuring up to 125,000 square feet. The site is near Interstate 890 and is close to downtown attractions. The museum is still raising money for the project and is not ready to exercise the purchase option on the lot, museum officials said.

Metroplex is in discussion with Gordon Development about an undeveloped parcel it owns at Broadway and Clinton Street adjacent to Villa Italia. Gillen said Metroplex would like to see the parcel used either as a parking lot or as the site of a building.

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