The scope of work on sidewalks and streets in Snider Plaza will be reduced to exclude the northern two blocks based on where the city of University Park has authorization from property owners to work.
Specifically, City Engineer Katie Barron said work on sidewalks and streets will be limited to an area from Daniel Avenue to Rankin Avenue, Milton Avenue from Snider Plaza back to Hillcrest Road, Rosedale Avenue from Snider Plaza back to the alley, and Daniel Avenue between the two alleys. They’re also planning to replace an easement in a section of Westminster Avenue between Snider Plaza and Hillcrest. All council members but Councilman Bob Meyers approved the construction limits for the work Aug. 15.
Barron said the city needed 24 authorizations to replace public infrastructure on private property in the north end of Snider Plaza, received authorization for 10, hasn’t received a response for nine, and was denied for four, necessitating limiting the project scope.
Final project plans are expected in the next 40 days. Barron estimated the project would take about 24 months
“This will be phased construction, that will mean that we do block by block, and that can be anywhere from four months to six months, but our full time frame from the Daniel Hillcrest intersection up to Lovers is about 24 months,” Barron said.
The city council in July ratified a concept plan for the sidewalk and street work that did away with two originally proposed green spaces to preserve 34 parking spaces. An earlier proposed concept plan called for a linear green space along the 3400 block of Rosedale Avenue) and gathering space in the intersection of Snider Plaza and Rosedale Avenue that would have crosswalk connections to the Rosedale Green and a paved area, but the concept site plan city council members approved in June removed those in hopes of preserving parking spaces. That amended plan was ratified July 19, with all council members but Bob Meyers voting in favor of ratification. The plan also incorporates a lot at 3420 Rankin Ave., which is intended to be used as a parking lot, into Snider Plaza zoning.
Juliana McIlveene, who works at Logos Bookstore, said Snider Plaza merchants paid for a survey studying where employees in the plaza park that found that, excluding Hilltop employees, a total of 80 employees park in the garage, 214 park behind their building, 232 park in the plaza, and 192 park in the surrounding neighborhood.
“Most shocking is that there are so many employees in the plaza that more than half of the in-plaza parking is taken by employees because they have nowhere else to go,” said McIlveene. “Conquering employee parking will undoubtedly help customer parking.”
Susan Lewis, who co-owns longtime Snider Plaza business Logos Bookstore, also called for increasing the number of employee spots in the garage, making the parking program permanent, and more.
“As you can see from our study, we can realistically anticipate there being approximately 800 Snider Plaza employees needing parking in the future,” Lewis said. “We need a place for our employees to park.”
Angela Farris of Lane Florist in Snider Plaza said she’d like to see the surface improvements project pared down and funds used to build a parking garage.
“What I would like to propose is let’s get a parking garage,” Farris said. “Let’s get a place where people can park, let’s take these funds, and let’s do something that creates a long-term response.”
In other news:
- The city council approved an additional $20,000 for a program allowing Snider Plaza businesses from Daniel Avenue to Rosedale Avenue to use 100 parking spaces in the Hilltop Plaza garage at no cost for a six-month period that began in April. The amount authorized for the program was $40,000 for fiscal year 2023. There were 36 active cards for the Hilltop Plaza garage last October at an average cost of $33,000-35,000, which rose to 85 active cards by June. Fiscal year 2023 parking expenses for the program to date total $37,972.50.