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Wichita downtown arena parking promises not fulfilled

In 2004, as residents of Sedgwick County were considering whether to vote for a sales tax to fund the downtown Wichita arena (now known as the Intrust Bank Arena and nearly ready to open), people wondered about parking.

So on a campaign literature piece, the arena supporters made this claim: “With the proposed garage structures, more than 10,000 parking spaces will be available within a three-block radius of the Arena (compared with the Coliseum’s 4,500 spaces.)”

Today, on the eve of the arena’s opening, these parking garages don’t exist.

What about surface parking spaces? According to the draft version of the parking plan submitted to the city council last week, there is “available weekday parking supply at peak of approximately 3,040 spaces within the Arena District.” That district is, approximately, a three-block radius around the arena.

The parking structures promised by arena boosters might be built. The city has approved a TIF district that surrounds the arena, and there is the potential, by my reckoning, to spend around $9 million on parking structures. But at a cost of $20,000 to $25,000 per space, this money buys 450 parking spots at most.

By the way, I learned that the number of parking spaces around the arena is likely to decrease. At least that’s the goal of one of the firms who pitched their planning services to Wichita last week. That’s because if there is development of the area immediately surrounding the arena, there won’t be room for so much parking. Travel by automobile is something to be reduced, according to most of the planners, and we should rely on transit and bicycles instead.

I realize that the arena boosters who put out this information weren’t government officials (although some may have been involved). They put out a few other whoppers, too. It’s too bad that so many citizens believed them.

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3 Comments

  1. Mike October 5, 2009

    Hi, this isn’t exactly a comment on parking, but on the “Intrust Bank Arena’s” name. When are we as a country, going to move back from the stupidity of naming large, long-lasting buildings after transient companies? The Enron (stadium?), Transworld stadium in StL etc. While I don’t have a clue who Britt Brown was, I assume he used to live here and we somewhat popular. While the Bank that is currently named Intrust is a local institution, how long will it be named Intrust?

    Mike

  2. Wichitator October 5, 2009

    Britt Brown is alive and although he well endowed in years his name was tied to this part of the Kansas Coliseum facility since the day it was opened.

  3. Anonymous December 21, 2009

    I work in the Finney State Office Building and pay a biweekly fee to use the parking lot on the SE corner of William and Broadway Streets. Back in October our lot was shut down for expansion, resurfacing, the addition of lighting for “our safety,” and repainting of lines. This lot now has a big electronic sign in it that says, “Parking for Arena Lot 2.” Since I have to pay the extra taxes that pay for the Arena, do I still have to fork over a biweekly fee to park there for work? It’s bad enough they tried to pass off the improvements as being for our benefit, but then to make us double pay for it??? Nice, Wichita, nice.

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