The long-awaited Barnum Avenue parking lot has officially opened, and it is something the village has never seen before.
“This is a unique lot,” said Mayor Margot Garant. “This is the first lot in 50 years that we’ve added to the village.”
The new 32,000-square-foot lot includes 46 new spaces oriented diagonally, including two handicap spots and two EV charging stations. It’s a free municipal lot with a one-way entrance, to help alleviate traffic congestion.
Located east of the Joe Erland baseball field, an old, vacant building was once located on the property. Deemed an eyesore, it was a several-year-long process to remove the building, clean it up and turn it into a free municipal lot that is futuristic in its amenities.
“People think it’s just pavement and drawing lines,” Garant said. “But this is 70% technology — everything is cloud-based with new technology.”
And that’s part of a pilot program the village board approved, with the goal to improve the ability to find parking. In April, the Parking Logix counting system will be installed at the Barnum lot to assist residents and visitors in giving them a real-time counting and management system.
Kevin Wood, the village’s parking and mobility administrator, said the counter will be able to show drivers how many spots are available in the lot before they even pull in.
“I had always taken notice of parking anxiety,” he said. “It’s a real thing … people get worried thinking, ‘Am I going to find a spot?’ People fighting for spots, this takes a little of the edge off.”
And that’s just part of it. The parking lots within the village will continue using QR reader technology through Honk Mobile to help people pay from their vehicles, not need to search for quarters and reduce touch points on meters in a pandemic world.
“We’re way ahead of the curve on that,” Wood said. “We had instituted it before COVID. You don’t have to visit a meter; you can be in your car and shoot the QR from your window and pay in your car.”
Wood said that the last month visitors were required to pay for parking was in November, and 55% of the transactions were paid for through this new technology.
He added that the QR reader in the Barnum lot will be used to track how long people park in their spots when they check in, and hopes that business owners will encourage staff to utilize the space.
There will be no overnight parking (from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m.) in the Barnum lot, Garant said. “Code is going to enforce that.”
The only things remaining, along with the counter, is the additions of bioswales bordering the foot entrance on Barnum Avenue to aid in flood mitigation. Once constructed, the bioswales will look like two dips in the ground with plantings overlaying them, and a brand-new sign will be installed at the Joe Erland field.
A ribbon cutting is planned in the upcoming weeks.