Street parking now available

Over the past few weeks as I’ve exchanged pleasantries with people who are preparing for Monday’s opening of the 2007 Iowa legislature, many have posed the question: “Where will we park?”  As you may know, a huge parking lot immediately west of the statehouse has been taken over by construction crews.  Somebody a few years back decided to pave paradise and put up a parking lot (pardon the use of the line from that song, but you’re humming it now, right?).  However, current state officials have decided to turn the parking lot into a public park. That means hundreds of drivers will be roaming around the capitol on Monday morning, looking for a parking space. On Friday afternoon, the Department of Administrative Services released the following statement (after the jump):

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2007
For More Informaiton: Laura Riordan, 515-242-5038

Street parking now available on the Capitol Complex

DES MOINES — Monday is the first day of the 2007 legislative session and those coming to the Capitol Complex are going to notice a couple of big changes when they look for a place to park.

The two parking lots that used to be directly west of the Capitol Building have been removed to make way for the West Capitol Terrace, a project that is transforming the land west of the Capitol from parking lots into a public park – and a much grander entrance leading up to the Capitol Building from Des Moines’ East Village.

To help make up for those lost parking spaces, on-street parking is now available on the Capitol Complex. Some of the Capitol Complex streets are controlled by the state, others by the city, so the two entities joined forces to work on this issue.

Mollie Anderson, director of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), said the city has been a great partner in finding more parking solutions for the Capitol Complex. Anderson and Rick Clark, Des Moines’ city manager, have also been discussing the possibility of adding a shuttle service to the Capitol Building.

Officials at DAS – the agency responsible for maintaining the Capitol grounds, buildings and parking lots – started preparing for the removal of the lots directly west of the Capitol Building by building a new parking ramp on the corner of East Grand and Pennsylvania avenues, northwest of the Capitol Building. The ramp, which has over 800 spaces, was opened in February 2003. The parking lots west of the Capitol Building, installed as “temporary” lots in the 1970s, were removed in July 2006. Phase I of the West Capitol Terrace project is expected to be completed by June 2007 – in time to serve as the finish line for the international Hy-Vee Triathlon being hosted by Des Moines over Father’s Day weekend.

For more information about the added street parking and other improvements on the Capitol Complex, please see  HYPERLINK ""

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.