No valet parking in Naperville's new Water Street garage

Valet parking services will have to find places for the cars they serve outside of the new Water Street District garage nearing completion in downtown Naperville.

The city council voted Tuesday to prohibit valet services from using any of the spots in the 521-space parking deck - at least for the first year it's open, after which the rule could be revisited.

"Keeping more spaces for people who are parking themselves is going to provide better customer service," said Jennifer Louden, deputy director of transportation, engineering and development.

Valets for established downtown restaurants - or any of the five new dining destinations announced so far as part of the hospitality development on the south side of the DuPage River - will be able to use the city's other three parking decks or private spaces they lease out, Louden said.

The new city-owned garage at Water Street will include a parking guidance system to tell drivers how many spots remain. One hundred and twenty of the spots will be reserved for guests of the Hotel Indigo, which is set to open in mid-October as the anchor of the development. Remaining spaces will be available for downtown employees or visitors.

That's how it should be, several council members said.

"The taxpayers deserve to have the front rows," council member Paul Hinterlong said. "They're paying for this."

Council members Judith Brodhead and Patty Gustin suggested the city look into charging valet businesses for use of the other three public garages at the municipal center, on Chicago Avenue and on Van Buren Avenue.

Louden said the city could consider such a fee in the future.

"The reason we haven't pursued that is because it's the same patrons," Louden said. "They're (valet users) just paying for the premium of getting to go right to their destination."

The new Water Street parking deck is part of $23.7 million worth of public improvements to the 2.3-acre site east of the Naperville municipal center, where a string of underused buildings sat until April 2015 when Marquette Companies broke ground on the transformative project. The city is paying $18.4 million for amenities such as parking, Riverwalk connections, a traffic signal at Aurora Avenue and Webster Street and stormwater detention, while the developer is contributing $5.3 million.

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