Medford parking spaces multiply

What requirements does Medford have for providing parking for big buildings and companies such as Lithia, Jackson County Health and Human Services, One West Main and others? Does the company or agency provide and pay for parking or does the general public foot the bill? It seems that when lots of employees are involved that the company should have to provide, at their expense, spaces for their employees to park. With hundreds of people working in one building, it should be the company's problem, not the general public's.

— Rhonda R., Medford

Nothing seems to get people's goat in Medford more than parking, Rhonda. Figuring out who provides it is a complicated give-and-take between developers and the city. We'll try to explain it as best as we can.

To start with, a developer is not required to provide parking in the downtown area, so the city is on the hook to provide parking for the most part. If you look at most businesses on Main Street, they have very little, if any, parking, except for the parking on the street provided by the city.

So the city has built parking garages and parking lots to meet that obligation. When Rogue Community College moved into the downtown, it received assurances from the city that parking would be provided.

While parking is not required, most developers realize they'd better figure it out before they build.

Lithia Motors, for example, plans to build a parking area to the north of its headquarters in the near future. Lithia also rents out parking spaces in the Middleford parking garage, and its employees use other nearby parking lots.

The owners of the new, four-story One West Main building at the corner of Main and Fir streets negotiated with the city for 200 parking spaces in the Evergreen parking garage. The owners also will lease an additional 100 spaces at $10 a month per space.

Making that parking available was part of the deal that will bring several hundred employees downtown when the One West Main building is completed.

Jackson County officials did one better. They are building a six-story parking structure behind the new health building across Ivy Street on West Eighth Street.

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency also purchased two properties last year along Riverside Avenue that will each be converted into 100-space parking lots.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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