Delray Beach, FL, April 16, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Wrapped by shrubs and carpeted by pavers, the new public lot is resolving parking woes in a car-clogged corner of Pineapple Grove in downtown Delray Beach.
It is also reducing pollution, energy costs and emission of greenhouse gases.
The 14-space lot in the 300 block of Northeast Third Avenue is “green,” consisting of pervious pavers, decorative LED lighting, and low-volume irrigation, according to the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) which built the lot.
CRA officials expect to use similar green construction techniques in other future parking and building projects.
“We are known for improving physical conditions, but there’s no reason why we can’t incorporate environmental sustainability into projects,” said Elizabeth Butler, the CRA’s marketing and grants coordinator.
Cities across the country are building green parking lots to reduce water runoff and protect waterways from dirt and petroleum that come from standard water-shedding, heat-reflecting pavement lots.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year began investigating new ways to further reduce pollution runoff from paved surfaces. Pollution from those surfaces puts undo stress on water infrastructure, especially in dense, populated urban areas, the agency said.
The $120,000 lot, approved by the CRA in September, is nearing completion by the builder, All-Site Construction. For many residents, merchants and customers in constant search for parking spaces amid rows of warehouses, repair shops, eateries, apartments, and other small businesses, the lot is long overdue.
“I can’t park in front of my business on many days because there are cars everywhere around here,” said Melissa Morgan, who works at Ashley’s Florist next to the lot. “This lot is certainly going to help.”
The lot, just south of Lake Ida Road, has a courtyard, benches, a bike rack, and several spots to display sculptures and other art.
Located in the Pineapple Grove Arts District, the lot’s street art will integrate Northeast Third Avenue into the district where new studios, galleries and events are being added to draw tourists and boost the local economy.
Still, the primary goal of the new lot is to provide parking for businesses and customers in the area.
“If we’re going to fill business vacancies, there’s going to be more demand for customer parking,” Butler said. “We want the district to have an atmosphere conducive to business.”
Over the years, the CRA has built and contributed to numerous public parking lots in the downtown and residential neighborhoods.
That includes contributing $334,000 toward the construction of the city’s first public parking garage on Southwest First Avenue next to the South County Courthouse and Delray Beach Public Library. The agency also acquired property needed for the construction of a 525-space public parking garage just east of the Old School Square campus, and set aside $6.5 million for the garage’s construction costs.
Like other parking lots, the City of Delray Beach will maintain the new lot on Northeast Third Avenue.
Leon Fooksman is a journalist who writes for Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.