**Please see attached parking map for alternate permitted parking spots**
A recently completed condition survey done on the Columbus Parking Garage will result in the temporary closure of the parking ramp and top level of the garage- the bottom level garage will continue to be open to the public. The survey completed by Desman Associates - who had also surveyed the garage in 2005 - showed that further structural analysis needs to be completed on the ramp and top level of the garage. The bottom level of the Columbus Street Garage will be open and is safe to use.
Mayor Bianchi commented, “While Desman did not state we had to close the ramp and top level immediately, it is important for us to err on the side of safety rather than expose citizens to undo risk. I appreciate the publics’ understanding. Desman Associates does support our decision to close the two sections of the garage until a more detailed structural analysis is completed on Monday [August 11th].”
In 2005 repairs were done on the garage. Repairs were intended to extend the life of the garage for ten years. That estimated life span is just about coming to a close.
Mayor Bianchi spoke with Senator Downing in an effort to hasten the release of $6 million earmarked for the Columbus Street Garage. The earmarked funds are from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. On August 5th, Senator Downing and Representative Farley-Bouvier, in partnership with Mayor Bianchi, sent a letter to Governor Patrick and Secretary of Massachusetts DOT, making an urgent request for a release of no less than $6 million in order to either repair or fully replace the Columbus Street Garage.
Bianchi stated, “I am working closely with Senator Downing to determine how we can expedite the process to receive the earmarked funding from the Mass DOT sooner than planned. Bringing the matter in front of Governor Patrick and Secretary Davey will hopefully help in receiving the earmarked funds.”
Peter Sondrini, Director of Maintenance, explained, “Preventative maintenance is important on all structures. Unfortunately, the condition survey completed on the Columbus Street Garage did not go as we hoped. The current successful renovation of the McKay Street Garage will help alleviate the permitted parking strain created by the closure of the Columbus Street ramp and top level permitted parking spots, along with the use of Lot 1 on Melville Street.”
In total 156 permitted parking spots will be affected. It is important to note that the condition survey was separate from the recently completed parking survey. The plan to accommodate those who parked in the permitted spots is to:
- Open roof spots in the McKay Street Garage: those planning to park on the roof of the McKay Street garage MUST come to the Office of Public Works, located in City Hall, in order to get swipe passes to get into the garage. Permit stickers for the Columbus Garage will be honored on the roof of the McKay street garage.
- Lot 1, Melville Street: Lot 1, across from the Boys and Girls Club on Melville Street, is an alternative parking area for those who normally park on the ramp or top deck.
- Bottom Level, Columbus Street Garage: 30 spots on the west side (with the fire station) of public in the Columbus Street Garage will temporarily be turned into permitted parking spaces
The ramp and deck will be closed beginning Saturday morning, August 9th.
Key steps for those who park in the permitted parking spots.
- Look on the City website at the parking maps, www.cityofpittsfield.org, to determine the most convenient place to park
- If planning to park in the McKay Street Garage, starting on Wednesday, August 6th, go to the Office of Public Works to pick up a swipe card in order to gain access to the garage
For the general public, the bottom level of the Columbus Street Garage will still be open and is safe to use.