Parking Restictions Trouble Lexington Leaders

May 13, 2013

Downtown parking in Lexington continues to undergo change.  Last summer, the city’s Parking Authority took over operation of metered spots and many public garages.  Most recently, the refurbished annex garage was reopened and rechristened as the Helix Garage.  But Council member Bill Farmer worries not all the changes are improvements.   “I just see a lot of tickets being given and I see a change in culture and that’s part of what your entity does is it changes things as it goes and I understand that.  That doesn’t mean that I may be overjoyed by some of those changes,” said Farmer.

A truck drove down the exit ramp after the Helix Garage reopened at 7 a.m. Monday at 150 East Main Street in Lexington. The former Annex Garage, renamed the Helix Garage for its spiraling exit ramp, had been closed since November for a $3.1 million restoration project. A 50 percent discount is available for motorists who get their tokens validated at the Urban County Government Center, the Phoenix Building or the Kentucky Theatre
Credit Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald Leader

While, the newly refurbished Annex Garage has been renamed and reopened, it no longer offers free parking in the evening.  Parking Authority Directory Gary Means told Lexington Council member Bill Farmer at a recent meeting he believes the new three-dollar evening rate is fair.

“I think the bigger story is now there’s 380 safe spaces that are gonna be well lit and it’s a very reasonable price.  We’re not overcharging.  I understand it’s a big culture shift and we will continue to work with them,” said Means.

“‘Well, I mean part of his closing comments were that his lease is up in a year and he was looking to move,” responded Farmer.

More improvements are coming to public garages in downtown Lexington.  Gary Means says three other projects are planned.

“The next restoration project will be at the Transit Center garage and the new equipment will follow one month at a time so we hope by June one we have the new equipment up and running at the Transit Center.  The next garage after that will be the Victorian Square by July one and then by August one the Courthouse, which has the newest equipment in it so we’ll get to that last to complete the system on the equipment,” added Means.

Bill Farmer runs a family owned jewelry store in Lexington’s Chevy Chase neighborhood.  Still, Lexington’s Mayor gives the parking authority top marks for financing garage repairs.