Parking lots north of the site of St. Paul's new Lowertown ballpark were closed on Monday to help ease demolition of the former manufacturing plant nearby.
The city also announced a temporary parking solution for residents of the Market House condominiums, who were among the lots' primary users. The residents and the city are continuing to pursue a permanent fix, a parks official said.
Development of the ballpark on the site of the former Gillette/Diamond Products plant has been accompanied by worries about parking availability in Lowertown.
The ballpark's environmental assessment work sheet noted that the project would displace about 320 on- and off-street parking spots, leaving about 7,200 parking spaces within six blocks of the ballpark site. At least half of St. Paul's estimated 7,000 downtown residents live in Lowertown.
For now, Market House residents will be allowed to park for free in the farmers market lot across the street on weekdays and in the Lowertown Ramp on weekends until Sept. 30. The ramp, at Jackson and 4th streets, is about five blocks from the Market House, and "not a great solution," said resident Ron Nelson. But, he added, the city's effort to arrange a "temporary solution is appreciated."
Changes have been made, too, for farmers market patrons, many of whom also used the lots north of the ballpark site.
A free pedicab service is available to transport people to and from nearby parking lots. Also, a "load and go" pick up and drop off zone is provided on 4th Street between Broadway and Wall Streets. The market plans to have parking attendants stationed this weekend.
"We've been working with the city preparing for this change since January, so we are ready," St. Paul Growers Association manager Jack Gerten said in a news release. "There will be an adjustment for visitors, but I think it will work out just fine."