City of Alexandria announces temporary downtown parking fix

Published: Feb. 8, 2019 at 7:18 PM CST
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The City of Alexandria announced it has a solution to the downtown parking concerns many have with the new community college campus being built in the area.

It’s been a concern since the project was announced, where will students of the new Central Louisiana Technical and Community College downtown campus park? And with the school set to open up in the fall, the clock is ticking.

"It's not a fully satisfying everybody situation, but it will accommodate for the time being until we can get the long-term options all vetted out and identified," said Mayor Jeff Hall, City of Alexandria.

After meeting with downtown business leaders on Thursday, Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall announced at his monthly briefing on Friday that they have a temporary solution to downtown parking concerns.

So, what's in the plan? First off, CLTCC is expecting around 600 students for both downtown campuses, and the city said they've identified around 1,000 spaces in the interim.

One of the main spots is the parking garage at the Ned Randolph Riverfront Center. They said that'll add about 400 spots, with an around five minute walk to the main campus.

Along with that, around 500 on-street parking spots within a five minute radius of the school.

And, they plan to construct a new parking lot by CLTCC’s riverfront campus near Casson and Third streets.

"Trying to look at the overall infrastructure to ensure we are doing what's right for the city as well as meeting the need," said Susan Broussard, Chief of Staff.

The city also plans to change some downtown roadway traffic flow. Fourth St. will be changed from a one-way to a two-way, and Fifth St. will be changed from a two-way to a one-way. City officials said that will help the flow of traffic.

They expect the project to cost around $1 million.

"Well it's something that has concerned us from the beginning,” said Jimmy Sawtelle, Chancellor for CLTCC. “We have always been assured that the city would come through and today they have come through triple of what our need is."

But, this is a temporary plan. City officials said they'd like to look at building a parking garage closer to the school. That’s a project they said could cost up to $10 million.

"We look at how we are going to fund it, because we are looking at something that will take a lot more time and a lot more money than the plan we have in place right now," said Broussard.

The city said they plan to have the roadway project completed within two months.