Downtown parking lot gets redesign

PARKERSBURG – An under-construction parking lot at Seventh and Juliana streets will feature a unique design, the mayor said on Tuesday.

Mayor Bob Newell said he believes the lot, which will use a combination of blacktop, pavers and a kiosk which can accept credit cards, will be the first of its kind in Parkersburg.

The property was given to West Virginia University at Parkersburg in April by the Erickson Foundation. The college then entered in an agreement with the city to develop the property into a parking lot.

Officials have said the lot would be used primarily by students at WVU-Parkersburg downtown campus on Market Street, but it would provide temporary parking for any visitors to downtown. People must either find street parking or pay for monthly parking spaces.

Newell said city crews have finished their portion of work at the Seventh and Juliana site, and bids have been put out for the next phase of work on the lot, which will include work on a wall and construction of a parking area and sidewalks.

Newell said instead of the entire lot being blacktopped, only the driving lanes will be paved. All of the parking spaces will instead use parking lot pavers which can be placed in sections.

“The loop you drive to get around it will be blacktop, but all the parking areas where your car actually sits will be pavers,” he said.

The design will allow the lot to filter rain rather than creating runoff areas, thereby meeting the city’s stormwater requirements.

“It looks so much nicer and it absorbs water, so we don’t have to tap into the stormwater system,” he said. “We don’t have to put in an underground retention system either. When you do it this way, the water just goes through the pavers and into the ground.”

The design allows for the possible creation of a second-story parking facility at a later time. Instead of placing footers for the structure now, Newell said if the city decides to add a second level, some of the pavers can be removed to make way for the new structure.

“Down the road if that is what we want to do, instead of cutting concrete we are just removing pavers and putting footers in,” he said.

Officials hope to have the parking lot completed this fall. The lots will be rented on an hourly basis, and the city is working with WVU-Parkersburg to provide student parking at a reduced rate.