The idea of creating a parking garage near the Garrahy Judicial Complex has been periodically batted around for a quarter-century. Now, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio is proposing a special legislative commission "to make a comprehensive study and issue findings regarding building a structured parking facility in downtown Providence, specifically at the Garrahy Judicial Complex."
The commission would be charged with reporting its findings by January 7, 2014. Via news release:
The 11-member commission would be comprised of a bipartisan mix of three senators and three representatives, the mayor of Providence or the mayor’s designee, the director of the Department of Administration, the director of the Department of Transportation, the state court administrator, and the chairperson of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission.
The legislative release announcing Ruggerio's bill includes supporting comments from Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Colin Kane, chairman of the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, who call a garage a way of relieving congestion and bolstering development on the former I-195 land. Here's part of Kane's comment:
"In order to take advantage of this once in a generation opportunity, the state, city and 195 Commission need to identify transportation and parking solutions to support such growth. The Garrahy Judicial Complex is ideally suited to help solve existing parking challenges, as well as kick-start the solution for future buildings on the former highway land, and the 195 Commission welcomes the opportunity to participate in the study effort.”
The idea of a garage near state-owned land by the Garrahy complex has been bandied about since the days when Joseph R. Paolino Jr. was mayor in the mid-1980s.
The cost of building parking garages explains why there aren't more of them in downtown Providence.
Skeptics question whether downtown Providence needs more parking. The panoply of downtown surface parking lots was once parodied when The Red Fez restaurant used a Providence Phoenix ad to note its location in Providence's downtown parking lot district.
Ruggerio's bill has been introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs.