DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s hard to imagine parking downtown Des Moines getting any worse, but that is exactly what will happen on Sunday. The city will permanently close the parking facility on 5th and Walnut.
“Parking is changing as we get more people downtown, we get more businesses, more developments things are thriving,” said Jennifer McCoy, Des Moines City Traffic Engineer. “It’s not going to be as convenient as it has been but there is still parking and the city is doing what we can.”
When you look at the ramp at 5th and Walnut you can tell why the city is closing it. It’s past it life span and falling apart. The ramp though is in one of busiest parts of the Des Moines and the city knows that.
Over the next couple of weeks, the city will roll out a campaign called “Park Eat Play.” It’s designed to help commuters find other parking downtown.
If you add the parking spots gone already from the Hy-Vee construction on Court Ave. and those that will be lost when the 5th and Walnut ramp closes, the area will have lost about 800 spaces over the last year.
Good news though, there are four ramps with extra parking spots. In total those ramps have 2,500 spaces and they are all just a couple blocks away.
Before the city decided to take down the 5th and Walnut ramp they did a complete usage study of that area and found out they were going to about 300 parking spots short when it was done. The whole goal of the new plan is to redirect drivers to available parking and there is ample parking right next to that zone.
On 4th and Grand there are over 1,000 surplus parking spaces. Just two blocks west, at 8th and Mulberry there are 2,000. While it’s not right on Court Ave. there is still room to park.
“It’s probably a little bit of a change in thinking. You won’t be able to park right in front of the businesses you want to visit. There are options but you just need to walk a block and a half to three blocks,” said McCoy. “Be patient, try and plan ahead. Look at the map. Try and think of some alternative options from where you used to park. Maybe have a couple of ideas in your head before you head downtown.”