City Council Report

 

City Council Meeting: April 26, 2011

Agenda Item: 8-A

To:               Mayor and City Council

From:           Martin Pastucha, Director of Public Works

Subject:        Schematic Design for Parking Structure 6

 

 

Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council:

1)    Review and provide input on the proposed schematic design for Parking Structure 6.

2)    Approve the recommended design direction.

3)    Direct staff to move forward with design development.

 

 

Executive Summary

City Council approved a contract with Morley Construction Company as the design-builder for the rebuild of Parking Structure 6 in June 2009. The design-build team includes International Parking Design, Inc. (IPD) as the parking designers and Behnisch Architekten as the design architect.  Staff is requesting Council to review the proposed schematic design package (Attachment A), provide feedback, and approve the recommended design direction for incorporation in the design development phase.

 

 

Background

On December 19, 2000, Council established the Downtown Parking Task Force in response to a Planning Commission suggestion to establish a public process to obtain community input on the “Downtown Parking Management Program” report prepared by Kaku Associates, dated April 2000. This report recommended public parking modifications in the downtown area.  On April 9, 2002, Council conceptually approved the Downtown Parking Task Force’s recommended strategic plan to retrofit, rebuild and add parking resources in the downtown area over a ten-year period.  On February 28, 2006, Council approved the Downtown Parking Program and authorized staff to proceed with the next steps to implement the program. On May 9, 2006, Council approved the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the parking program.

 

On June 30, 2009, Council approved Morley Construction Company as the design-builder for Parking Structures 1 and 6.  Council adopted the Walker Parking Study on September 8, 2009 that made a number of recommendations about how the City should manage and plan for future parking needs.  Reconstruction of Parking Structure 6 was among the Walker Parking Study recommendations.  At the November 10, 2009, Study Session discussing concept massing, urban design, circulation and cost implications of rebuilding Parking Structures 1 and 6, Council directed staff to rebuild only Parking Structure 6 based on the parking needs identified in the Walker Parking Study.

 

On May 11, 2010, Council approved a contract with Morley Construction Company for preconstruction and design services for Parking Structure 6.  The design team includes International Parking Design, Inc. as the parking designers and Behnisch Architekten as the architect for the architectural elements.  On January 11, 2011, Council approved the proposed conceptual design for Parking Structure 6.  Staff is now requesting input and approval for the schematic design for Parking Structure 6.

 

Discussion

The Downtown Parking Improvement Program recommended that Parking Structures 1 and 6 be demolished and rebuilt in the same locations with additional spaces. The EIR analyzed an envelope of three levels below ground and up to nine levels above ground.  The recommended rebuilding of each structure would result in a net increase of up to 350 spaces per structure.  The structures were to include ground floor retail, bicycle storage facilities, and solar panels on the roof.

 

The schematic design of Parking Structure 6 consists of three subterranean levels and eight above-ground parking levels.  The design includes space for up to 90 bicycles in racks and 19 motorcycles, approximately 7,000 square feet of retail space fronting on 2nd Street, Farmers’ Market staff parking and storage, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Ambassadors break room and storage, general storage, and refuse and recycling bins serviced from the alley.

 

The overall design of this structure would be unique in that the pedestrian experience does not stop at the ground floor, but continues up along the entire building face, via the dramatic west-facing element.

 

The proposed schematic design incorporates a dynamic circulation zone at the façade, which becomes an identifier for this structure as well.  Patrons would cascade up and down an exterior diagonal stair which weaves in and out of the plane of the façade.  This increases public safety by its high visibility and offers patrons unique ocean views.

 

The façade would also function as a light-enhancement screen, which would bring light deep into the building structure, while eliminating harsh glare at the edge.  This screen would be composed of metal panels, which are folded outwards to catch and redirect high angle sunlight into the depths of the structure.  The portion which would remain unfolded is perforated to allow for the passage of low angle direct light into the garage, and to provide a high degree of visual transparency.  This combination would allow for a greater amount of light to enter the garage over a longer period.  From the street, the highly transparent façade would appear dynamic with the passage of people, and the constant ever-changing backdrop of cars.  The façade would not only provide a functional lighting aspect for the parking structure, but also a strong identity, enlivening the streetscape.

 

Programming Elements

The programming elements included in the schematic design are as follows:

·       Approximately 750 parking spaces total above and below grade, a net increase of approximately 400 parking spaces.

 

·       A total of 12 general ADA parking spaces and 15 van ADA spaces.

 

·       Above grade parking and below grade parking will function as two separate parking structures operationally.  There will be no vehicular connection between the two.

 

·       Maximum height of the structure is 84 feet to the top of the uppermost parking surface.  Presently, two of the three downtown parking structures on 2nd Street are at 84 feet.  These existing parking structures also do not have stepbacks or setbacks.

 

·       No exit booth or parking office; patrons will pay via pay-on-foot machines.

 

·       Approximately 7,000 square feet of retail space fronting 2nd Street.

 

·       Approximately 750 square feet for the Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Ambassadors break room and storage space.

 

·       Approximately 3,250 square feet for the Farmers’ Market staff parking and storage space.

 

 

·       30 electrical vehicle charging stations will be installed. Infrastructure for future electrical vehicle charging stations will be installed at all inner columns of the parking structure.

 

·       Bike racks on the ground level to accommodate up to 90 bicycles.  The bike area will have frontage on 2nd Street.

 

·       No public restrooms in the parking structure.  However, there will be restrooms for the retail employees.

 

·       Solar panels on the roof designed for a minimum 80kW system.

 

·       One stair and one elevator at the northeast corner (alley). One stair and two elevators at the southwest corner (on 2nd Street).

 

·       Trash area on the alley side of the structure will accommodate a total of 14 to 20 trash and recycle bins.

 

·       Design will maximize storage space.

 

·       A public art component at the alley façade.

 

·       Structure will be designed to achieve LEED silver rating, if possible.

 

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Parking Committee Comments

On February 23, 2011, the Downtown Santa Monica Inc. Parking Committee reviewed the schematic design.

·       The Committee was concerned that vehicles would be waiting an extensive amount of time to exit the parking structure since there is only one exit lane.  In addition, tour buses parked on 2nd Street just north of Parking Structure 6 make it difficult for vehicles to exit the parking structure.

 

·       The Committee inquired if a traffic signal would be installed at the crosswalk on 2nd Street in front of Parking Structure 6.  They felt that a traffic signal would make it easier for vehicles to exit the parking structure since the one exit lane is a right turn only lane.

 

·       Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. would like the Ambassador’s area to be larger than the approximately 550 square feet shown on the schematic drawings.

 

·       The Committee felt that the proposed 90 bicycle parking spaces in the bicycle storage room would be adequate.

 

 

To address Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.’s comments, the ground floor plan of Parking Structure 6 was revised to include one vehicular entry lane and two vehicular exit lanes.  Two exit lanes would help prevent vehicles from idling in the parking structure as drivers are waiting to exit the parking structure.  One lane would be for right turns and the other lane for left turns.  In addition, “no parking” signage can be installed at the curb just north of Parking Structure 6 to prevent buses from parking at that location.

 

The revised ground floor plan of Parking Structure 6 also provides the Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Ambassadors with approximately 200 square feet more of office/storage space, for a total of 750 square feet of office/storage space.

 

Planning Commission’s Comments

The new parking structure requires a conditional use permit and would have to be consistent with the Land Use and Circulation Element goals for the downtown district.  A text amendment, which has been approved by Council on March 22, 2011, is required to bring the zoning code into conformance with the Bayside District Specific Plan policy for allowed downtown parking structure height and to modify step-backs, set-back requirements, retail depth/height, driveway slope, projection of elevators and stair towers into the step-backs, and floor area ratio.

 

The conditional use permit and text amendment were presented to the Planning Commission on March 2, 2011.  The Commissioners appreciated the architectural design of the 2nd Street facade, and they were supportive of the sustainable goals for the project.

 

The Planning Commission recommended approval of the text amendment, but denied the conditional use permit for the following reasons:

·       If vehicles exiting the parking structure can only turn right, the vehicles will be directed to Santa Monica Boulevard and then to 4th Street. This will congest 4th Street and negatively affect the circulation in downtown Santa Monica.

 

·       Because there is only one exit lane, vehicles will be idling in the parking structure as they are waiting to exit the parking structure.

 

·       Because Parking Structure 3 will be demolished and no parking will be constructed at that location, the parking in downtown Santa Monica is being concentrated at the south end of Third Street Promenade.  New parking should be added at the north end of Third Street Promenade, or parking should be spread at the perimeter of downtown Santa Monica.

 

·       To help relieve congestion within the parking structure, a vehicular exit should be added to the alley side of the parking structure.

 

·       From an architectural standpoint, the alley side of the parking structure has not been addressed.

 

To address the Commission’s comments, the ground floor plan of Parking Structure 6 was revised to include one vehicular entry lane and two vehicular exit lanes.  In addition, vehicles exiting the parking structure would be able to turn left onto 2nd Street, which would alleviate some concerns with additional traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard and 4th Street since traffic would be directed south to Colorado Avenue.  The revised plans call for two exit lanes, which would help prevent vehicles from idling in the parking structure as drivers are waiting to exit the parking structure.

 

In regards to the Commission’s concern that parking is being concentrated at the south end of Third Street Promenade, staff and the community are engaged in a visioning process for the property at 5th Street and Arizona, which might include additional parking at the location.

 

To address the Commission’s comment regarding the installation of a vehicular exit at the alley, staff hired a transportation consulting firm, Gibson Transportation Consulting, Inc. (Gibson) to perform an analysis of the traffic at the alley.  Due to the ramping configuration, only the lower level parking spaces (approximately 230 parking spaces) would be able to use the vehicular alley exit.  Gibson’s analysis indicated that a vehicular exit at the alley would introduce traffic that would significantly conflict with the high volume of pedestrians and delivery trucks in the alley, which would likely result in delays exiting the parking structure.  These exiting vehicles, upon reaching Santa Monica Boulevard, would then interface with the high volume of pedestrians on that block between 2nd Street and the Promenade.  Gibson concluded that the alley should not be used for vehicular egress due to these negative impacts.

 

The Commission was concerned that the alley side façade has not been addressed from an architectural standpoint.  The current design of the alley side façade is a simple expression of structure, which allows as much light into the structure as possible.  Staff recommends locating the art component of the project on the alley side façade.  Staff is currently soliciting qualified artists for the project.  An artist will be selected by June 2011 to design this element.

 

Traffic Circulation Study

Gibson performed a traffic access and circulation assessment related to Parking Structure 6 and determined that the reduction to a single ingress lane will not cause vehicles to back up on 2nd Street, given its interior length.  Gibson’s analysis also concluded that the number of vehicular trips generated by Parking Structure 6 does not negatively affect the circulation in downtown Santa Monica and is consistent with the EIR as designed with the two egress aisles, one left-turning and one right-turning.

 

Next Steps

Contingent on Council’s approval of the final schematic design plans, the design team will proceed with the next phases of design development:

·       Prepare design development documents for the parking structure.

 

·       Present 50% design documents to Council – Summer 2011.

 

The anticipated construction start date for Parking Structure 6 is spring 2012, with construction completion at the end of 2013.

Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

There is no budget/financial impact associated with this action.

 

Prepared by: Karen Domerchie, Project Manager

 

Approved:

 

Forwarded to Council:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Pastucha

Director of Public Works

 

Rod Gould

City Manager

 

 

Attachment A – Schematic Design Package