Mayor's chief of staff: 'New demand can be met' for parking in downtown Cleveland

Grant may allow for pedestrian bridge

CLEVELAND - Indians, Browns, Cavs, a new casino, new hotels and restaurants -- there is a bigger demand for parking in downtown Cleveland now.

However, a top Cleveland official said he believes there are enough parking spaces in downtown Cleveland to accommodate an increase in visitors due to new development.

"I think a significant part of the new demand can be met by existing garage and lots that serve a daytime office population and can be reused for nighttime demands," said Ken Silliman, the chief of staff to Mayor Frank Jackson.

Silliman also said Jackson's vision for downtown Cleveland "gives a fair shake" to other modes of transportation. He said the mayor wants to strike a balance between automobiles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

"That being said, there are a few opportunities we're pursuing," said Silliman. "We are looking at some particular areas in the city where we think that demand might exceed supply and trying to get out in front of that."

The city has applied for a federal TIGER grant. The grants are used to fund transportation projects that also help stimulate economic activity. Silliman said the city wants to build a pedestrian bridge that would connect to a 725-space parking garage.

[ WEB EXTRA: See Cleveland's vision for downtown development ]

There are no current estimates about how many more visitors new developments are expected to bring to downtown Cleveland. That's according to Lexi Hotchiss, a communications manager for Positively Cleveland, who also said the opening of five new hotels in downtown Cleveland, and an expected $2 billion in private and public investment between 2012 and 2017, should significantly increase the number of visitors to the area.

The new projects include the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino, which is scheduled to open May 14; a $275 million development project to connect the East Bank of the Flats to the Warehouse District; and the opening of the Medical Mart and Convention Center in the summer of 2013.

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Tonight at 11 p.m. on NewsChannel5, we investigate problem meters in downtown Cleveland and how you can fix problem tickets. Join the conversation about this story on Twitter using the hashtag #5digs.

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