Ralston downtown parking lot

Ralston is entering negotiations with Urban Waters to redevelop this city owned parking lot on Park Drive into multifamily housing.

In the past several weeks there has been discussion about parking in downtown Ralston related to the city’s plans to redevelop a city-owned parking lot into multifamily housing.

According to a preliminary study conducted by former Ralston Arena manager Stan Benis from April 1 to April 29, the city-owned parking lot on Park Drive that has been the center of the discussions is underused.

Benis conducted this study after his duties as arena manager ended and he decided to stay on with the city to serve in other capacities.

The Ralston City Council voted Oct. 15 to enter negotiations with Urban Waters to develop the parking lot for multifamily housing use.

Following concerns brought forth by the community, the council approved an agreement with Walker Consultants to conduct an official parking study for $28,000 plus expenses.

City Administrator Dave Forrest said he does not know if the official study will come up with different findings than the preliminary study.

He said he hopes the city can get the results of the study before the end of the year. The study will take a look at parking in downtown Ralston over a period of six to eight weeks.

The preliminary parking study concluded several things:

• Business owners and staff park in prime parking spaces during the day and evenings.

• Renters park in prime business parking spaces during the day and evenings.

• Patrons of Village Bar dominate the parking spaces along 77th Street between Main and Burlington streets during prime business hours, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The preliminary study found that during daytime hours — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — there is “adequate” parking for all the businesses in downtown.

Besides the parking spaces along 77th Street between Main and Burlington streets, there is “ample” parking space at other parking locations in downtown during prime business hours.

There are 42 spots in the city-owned parking lot, five of which are American with Disabilities Act compliant, three are reserved for Flower Basket and Debra Joy Groesser’s Fine Art Studio and six are reserved for the Ralston Volunteer Fire Department across Park Drive.

Of the 33 available public parking spots, the local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter takes up an average of 27 spots from noon to 1 p.m. on weekdays.

AA does not take up as many spots on the weekend due to there being more meeting times available.

There are 169 downtown public parking spaces, nine ADA spots and 15 reserved for the RVFD in addition to 434 private spaces, 19 of which are ADA, according to the study.

Taking out the city parking lot would reduce the available public parking to 127 total spaces, four ADA spots and nine for the fire department.

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