Naperville officials are beginning to plan for expansion of the public parking deck on Chicago Avenue near Washington Street as the city anticipates demand for an additional 600 to 850 spaces in the next five years.
Rebuilding and expansion of the 553-space deck could begin in about two years once a new parking deck to be built at the Water Street District brings 400 additional spaces to the downtown area.
"There is a unique window of opportunity with the Water Street deck, where we could take advantage of the deck being constructed in the first phase before the development is at full capacity," said Karyn Robles, the city's transportation and planning team leader.
Water Street developer Marquette Companies said the parking deck they're building to provide spaces for guests of a Hotel Indigo, a variety of restaurants, shops and an expansion of the Riverwalk, should be open to the public by late 2015.
Once those 400 spaces become available a few blocks from the parking deck on Chicago, but before the entire Water Street District is occupied with offices, shops and restaurants, Robles said the city could reconstruct the Chicago Avenue deck and "minimize the effects of the loss of spaces."
The city council authorized staff members to begin planning and budgeting for redoing the deck when it approved a downtown parking report Tuesday night. The report found parking demand is increasing, especially during peak shopping and dining periods like Friday evenings, and customer satisfaction is declining.
On a Friday and Saturday in July 2012, when the report's data was collected, an average of 68 percent of the 2,559 public parking spaces in downtown Naperville were occupied. During peak times, 89 percent of those spaces were taken.
Among 838 people surveyed, however, satisfaction with the downtown parking situation decreased to 61 percent from 64 percent in 2010. Only 44 percent of people said they expect to find a parking place in less than five minutes -- down from 74 percent who believed they could locate parking quickly in 2010.
City council members said the data indicates the need to rebuild and expand what's referred to as the central parking facility on Chicago Avenue just east of Washington Street.
"We need to get that going as soon as possible," council member Paul Hinterlong said about the parking deck rebuild. "The day Water Street opens we should be knocking that thing down and redoing that. ... We need to get in position to do that as soon as we have that window."
Construction to add more parking stalls at the deck, improve circulation between floors and possibly create retail spaces on the first floor is expected to take about a year, according to the report.