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9 things to know about Ramp 6

December 20, 2018

Rochester’s newest parking ramp, dubbed Ramp 6, is slated to open to vehicles in mid-February.

On Tuesday, the six-level facility was opened for a tour. Here are a few things we learned:

1 The project cost $31.4 million.

With 630 total stalls, that averages to nearly $50,000 per parking space, but the cost also covers other amenities, including a public lobby and office space for the city’s contractor, Lanier Parking Solutions, as well as skyway connections and outdoor spaces near the train tunnel.

2 The project took longer than expected.

Construction of the city’s first new ramp since 1999 was slated to take a year with a May 2017 start date.

The planned opening puts it nine months behind schedule.

John Pristash, senior project manager for Kraus-Anderson Construction, said several factors contributed to delays, from a wet summer and early winter to challenges connected to building alongside the Hilton hotel project.

Additionally, he said one of the project’s most unique features caused periodic work stoppages.

“Building around a train has a lot of inefficiency to it,” he said, noting trains passed through the site four to five times a week and required long delays as they made deliveries and returned to the main track through the tunnel.

3 The train tunnel provides space for 170 stalls.

“I don’t think we would have done the ramp without it,” Rochester Assistant City Administrator Terry Spaeth said of the tunnel.

With 90 lower-level parking spaces dedicated to the adjacent Hilton hotel, building up to the existing property line would have only provided for 370 public spaces.

4 A train could go off the tracks and your vehicle would be protected.

Pristash said the interior wall of the train tunnel is designed to withstand a 600,000-pound impact.

The wall is 3 feet thick and 30 feet tall to protect columns along the tunnel.

5 In and out lanes are flexible.

A total of four gates are accessed from the ramp’s south-side entrance on First Street Southeast.

Dan Stublaski, senior manager Midwest for Skidata, said they allow for flexibility based on needs.

They can be configured to provide two entrance lanes and two exit lanes during steady periods, but can offer three entrance lanes and one exit during early morning rushes. The reverse is possible in the afternoon as more commuters are leaving.

6 Technology makes payments flexible.

“It will be the most advanced garage in the Upper Midwest,” Stublaski said.

With no need to staff at the entrance and exit, credit cards can be used at the gate, or traditional gate tickets will allow people to pay with cash at pay stations.

License-plate readers will keep track of who has paid as vehicles exit.

The same readers will eventually provide additional features, including indicators for open spaces.

7 Energy use was considered.

The facility includes two charging stations for electric vehicles, making it a first for city ramps.

Additionally, the facility is equipped with fully automated LED lighting, which includes motion sensors to reduce costs while also increasing safety, Pristash said.

8 More construction considered.

Part of the additional cost of the ramp was making it capable of adding up to 10 floors of housing.

Spaeth said the city will put out a request for proposals to build affordable housing at the site.

A similar request failed to get any takers last year, but Spaeth said some developers have expressed interest in recent months.

“We’re going to see what kind of appetite there is for it,” he said.

9 Artistic flair is yet to come.

In addition to plantings and benches, a portion of the east side of the tunnel will feature art displays.

Several art walls are ready to be filled, and Pristash said the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust is being tapped to select local artists to fill the spaces.

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