Downtown Parkersburg parking lot nears completion

PARKERSBURG – A new parking lot with a design unique to the downtown should be up and running in early 2014.

The lot at Seventh and Juliana streets will have about 35 spaces and use a digital kiosk for customers to rent short-term parking spaces.

Mayor Bob Newell said Tuesday he’d hoped to have the lot open this year, but said the kiosk reader was being programmed and still needed installed.

“The parking spots will be numbered, and you go to the kiosk, punch in your number and you pay,” he said. “You can pay with coins, cash, credit cards or debit cards.”

The kiosk then keeps track of the time the space is rented, and Newell said the kiosk can be checked by parking authorities to see if time has expired for a vehicle.

Newell said Parkersburg City Council will approve the hourly rate once the lot is ready, which he said will be proposed at $1 an hour, a rate comparable to other city parking lots.

Council also will look at an agreement with West Virginia University at Parkersburg which would allow some students attending classes on the Market Street campus to use the spaces at a reduced rate.

“It will have some sort of a smart card system, and that will be something that council will look at and approve with WVU-P,” he said.

The lot also is unique in Parkersburg because it uses pavers rather than blocks of concrete. The pavers allow water to filter through, helping with the city’s stormwater management plan.

Those pavers can also be individually replaced, which Newell says will make it easier to maintain the lot and reduce the cost, while still being durable.

“There is a tremendous amount of (crushed) stone underneath of the pavers, so they’re not just sitting on dirt and sand,” he said. “If we need to we can pull up a few of the pavers to replace or reset them. We have to do that from time to time with our decorative brick sidewalks, so it won’t be an issue.”

The property at Juliana and Seventh streets 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.