Haymarket parking shortage concerns businesses

Posted By: Camila Orti

Parking seems to be at a premium in the Haymarket, and it's a problem that parking managers say might be around for awhile.

Development in the West Haymarket has brought dozens of new bars, restaurants and big–name artists to Lincoln, but it's brought something else, too- parking nightmares for area businesses.

Shelley Fritz, owner of the DelRey Ballroom, says ever since the Pinnacle Bank Arena opened, her business has been hurting.

“I try to keep a smile on my face because there's nothing else you can do,” Fritz said.

Fritz says attendance for DelRey's public dances have been cut in half and private lessons postponed because of parking issues. She says she hopes this doesn't continue for long.

“I would like to hope that I wouldn't have to shut my doors, I really don't see that, but I'd have to get pretty darn creative,” Fritz said.

Lincoln parking manager Wayne Mixdorf say the shortage of parking spaces isn't small. Mixdorf says arena events can bring in 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles. Current downtown garages can only hold about half that.  

“This time next year, I don't think we're going to be having any parking problems at all, but in the short term, it's a crunch,” Mixdorf said.

A new garage with 450 stalls should be finished by December. It's located just south of the Harris Overpass on Canopy Street, one of three planned garages.

The other two will be located on Pinnacle Arena Drive between Q and O streets, adding a combined 1600 parking spots.

In addition, the pedestrian bridge should be finished in early November, allowing easy access to more than 1,000 spots in the festival lot behind the arena.

In the mean time, Mixdorf's advice is to plan ahead and arrive early.