Planning for a new Wichita ballpark has included plenty of questions about parking, but city officials are hoping a mixture of spaces within the surrounding area will offset any challenges.
The vision for a new Wichita ballpark, slated to open next season for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), is one that calls for the $75-million facility to anchor new development in the surrounding area. Located at the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the new ballpark will have a different footprint than its predecessor, and current plans will result in a drastic reduction of parking spaces available in the surrounding surface lot.
That aspect of the plan has prompted plenty of concerns locally. City officials, however, have sought to adjust by undertaking measures to make the surrounding area more pedestrian friendly–a move to also help promote foot traffic at the new ballpark and planned development–and sought analysis on parking from Jeff Wolfe, the president and CEO of The Car Park Inc. Wolfe discussed his findings with the city’s Transit Advisory Board on Wednesday, and indicated that on a typical event night, the new ballpark can be served by a mixture of on-site spaces and available parking in the surrounding area. More from the Wichita Eagle:
The average event at the park will draw 5,000 to 6,000 people, resulting in a parking requirement of 1,500 to 2,500, he said.
Wolfe said the new stadium is projected to have about 420 on-site spaces.
That’s about half as many as when it was Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which could hold only about 60 percent as many people as the new ball park.
Within about a quarter mile of the stadium — the maximum people will usually walk without complaining — there are 523 available on-street spaces, 545 pay spaces in city lots and garages, and 1,974 spaces on private property, for a total of 3,462, Wolfe said.
Parking can be challenge in any ballpark planning process, especially in a case like Wichita, where city officials are considering how to redevelop the surrounding area with new amenities and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Time will tell how the new Wichita ballpark’s parking situation plays out, but it is one that city officials are having to carefully plot before the facility opens.
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