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Chestnut Street Garage Project

The Chestnut Street Garage (old Mosteller Garage) is completed and open. The following is a history of the project. 

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Renderings of New Garage
The Harman Group has presented new draft elevations drawings for consideration of the new Chestnut Street Garage (old Mosteller garage) at Walnut and Chestnut Streets. At right is the view looking west from Walnut Street towards High Street.

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September 10, 2008 -- Borough Council limits new Mosteller Garage to 75-feet
In a 4-to-3 vote, the Borough Council on Tuesday night set the height limit for the replacement of the Mosteller Garage to 75-feet. This will accommodate about 800 parking spaces compared to the current capacity of 414. The Harman Group, an engineering firm hired by the Borough for design of the new Mosteller Garage, recommended that 844 spaces would be needed to meet demand.

While Council members Scott Smith and Jim Jones voted against the 75-foot height limit, they discussed favoring an 85-foot parking garage that would accommodate about 900 parking spaces.

At its regular meeting, the Board of Directors of the West Chester BID passed a resolution indicating support for a garage that meets demand for downtown parking. See the PDF of the Resolution Supporting the Mosteller Garage Replacement Built to Meet Demand. A letter from the Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester urged Borough Council to support the construction of a new garage that will meet current and future demand for parking in downtown West Chester.

The Harman Group conducted a limited parking supply and demand study that calculated that 844 parking spaces are recommended to meet the demand in the new facility. This calculation does not include any potential requests from either the Zukin Hotel proposal or the YMCA. See the PDF of the Demand Study Executive Summary. See the entire PDF (1.8 megs) of the Limited Parking Supply and Demand Study.

On September 3, the Mosteller Reconstruction Option/Cost Comparison was updated to include twelve options.

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Several years ago the Borough Council made the decision to replace the now 35-year-old Mosteller Garage, with 414 parking spaces, with a new facility. Such a facility will be more attractive, safer and more convenient for users.

Alternative Parking Plan
There will be an alternative parking plan for the 18 month period when the existing garage will be out of service.

The plan currently counts on relief from parking demand due to other project circumstances. This relief will be created when the YMCA relocates in late 2008, reducing demand by up to 100 spaces. Secondly, Chester County will open the Justice Center in the Fall of 2008 and it has been discussed with County officials to move juror parking during the Mosteller construction. This will give Borough garages parking demand relief of 160 - 200 spaces which can be credited against the loss of 414 spaces.

Borough Council has proposed approval of a lease agreement with Eli Kahn for the former Agway lot at Chestnut & Matlack to use for public parking during the construction. Initial layout by the Public Works Department shows that the lot with some temporary paving could accommodate approximately 100 spaces. This could be stretched to 130-140 spaces if the lot is attended and cars are stack parked.

The demand reduction and the lease of the Agway Lot during the construction period accounts for of 260 - 340 spaces out of the 414 spaces that will be lost. Currently there are 212 monthly spaces leased by customers other than the County and the YMCA in the Mosteller Garage. Additional options using a portion of lot #10 at West Chestnut and Church Street.

The revenues of the parking system will be pledged to fund the debt that would finance the garage. Additionally, downtown businesses who want to reserve space in the garage will sign agreements pledging to pay their full pro-rated share of the cost of constructing the spaces they reserve plus an annual share of operating and maintenance expenses. There are currently 11 downtown business/property owners who have filed a letter of intent to reserve space in the proposed facility. The cost will likely be well above the current monthly market rate. A substantial portion of the debt (depending on spaces reserved) would then be guaranteed by the businesses reserving spaces.

Send comments or questions to Malcolm Johnstone.

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July 24th, 2008 at The Chester County Historical Society


Inform and engage West Chester Residents regarding the design and demolition/re-construction of the Mosteller Garage Replacement Project
HOSTED BY: West Chester Borough, Holly Brown, Council Member & Chair of Parking Committee and West Chester BID, Malcolm Johnstone, Executive Director

What is the process?
Web site interaction with e mail comments
Flyers and phone calls
Schedule review for planning/HARB
Preliminary Land Development Plan in August
Preliminary HARB in August
Final Land Development in November

What are the issues?
Number of spaces and building height
Ease of parking
Alley function/loading and unloading zones
Adjacent development
Facade element concepts
Material and color selection
Stair and elevator tower expression
Public Comment Session


These public comments are listed in no particular order. Comments 1 through 35 are copies of the questions recorded on the tablet at the stage during the progress of the public meeting.
1. How green do you want the garage?
2. Maintain two-way traffic on Prescott Alley plus service access lane
3. Make parking space size large if possible
4. Make stair tower width non-congested; current garage width it too tight; uncomfortable to pass people on the stairs in the existing garage
5. Open stair tower
6. Step back is important
7. Stair locations; existing on south side
8. Security and lighting
9. Accommodate pedestrian shelter and seating, benches, give people a place to sit
10. Consider many metered spaces
11. Consider multiple parking garage locations spread out throughout the borough
12. Generate parking revenue for the borough
13. Establish a building height that is manageable
14. Consider the compatibility of the garage with the aesthetics of the proposed hotel
15. Consider charging stations for electric cars
16. Consider solar panel potential
17. Consider compact car spaces
18. Keep current height limit
19. Alternative energy
20. Revisit Stair Option A from handout to include sidewalk at stair; do not impede pedestrian access
21. Bring street level to life; retail or other use on ground floor
22. Make it more than just a garage: bike racks, benches, farmer’s market
23. Expandability for future growth
24. Plan the Garage with a vision that includes the whole Borough; Look at the bigger picture; Encourage our towns people to think about how we want our town to grow
25. Consider the impact on the Borough infrastructure
26. Security access and control
27. Consideration of Court House Move – adds/deletes spaces from demand
28. Consider scale and use of high quality materials such as brick and granite
29. Business will put forth a fee for requested spaces
30. Sample Parking Structure Elevations presented and voted on; highest votes go to numbers 2, 4, 6, 15, 26
31. Explain parking demand study process: Existing spaces + requested spaces + other potential spaces + customer spaces
32. Accessibility plan during construction, including that for handicapped individuals
33. Temporary parking
34. Capacity for future development

Comments from notes during the public comment period
35. Exciting lighting
36. Evaluate number of stair towers
37. Start with 40 metered spaces
38. Bring people to town; hang some banners
39. What impact does YMCA have?
40. Corrosion control and proposal to have another 30 years of service from existing garage
41. Demand is coming from existing people and businesses; People need to decide how much development we want and that will determine the size of the new garage
42. Metered parking spaces for the general public – 2 hour limit; other spaces are charged based on how long you park
43. System in place for communication with Council; use as a way to communicate
44. Are there spaces from new developers in the demand count (yes, but above and beyond what they have already provided themselves to meet code)
45. Developers paying for spots will help the town afford the new garage; the town needs walking traffic; the garage is good for the town
46. To go anything above the current height limit that we worked so hard for would be regressive
47. Vote placed for “greening” the building and providing alternate energy
48. Tax payers shouldn’t pay for developer’s spaces; developers should pay for their own parking spaces if they step outside of code because their development is too intense
49. If building has to be higher because a developer requests to add spaces, then they (the developer) has to foot the bill
50. Income for garage will pay for garage; bonds will be sold to fund the construction
51. Development demand to be decided once Hotel hearing is complete
52. What year does garage become profitable for the Borough
53. By show of a hand count, approximately 20 people attended tonight’s meeting via non-fuel transportation methods
54. Make it more than just a place to park cars; have bikes racks, a place for retiree bus transportation to park, plant large trees

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Citizen comment
(name on file):
Comment abridged for clarity
I strongly urge Council to direct your parking consultants to determine the financial feasibility of constructing a public parking garage with a solar canopy of some sort. Your consultants could spend some time developing a solar feasibility/cost-benefit analysis which could include information such as:

sizing + dimensions of solar medium

initial construction costs + pay-back time

maintenance concerns

educational aspects

From a cost perspective, PECO's announcement of a 20% increase in energy costs by 2010 should be factored into the analysis.

Community Solar Case Study Examples:

Cathedral City had been looking to stabilize its budget process and reduce costs

Jackson Hole is thinking about it

Mountain View has done full power

Glendale Community College

Riverside train station

Reply from Borough Manager
The Borough’s consultants are already charged in their design contract to investigate not just solar but any energy or green technologies that might apply to the garage construction. Those items will be investigated during the schematic design phase and Council will need to make decisions on them before the project can proceed to construction documents. The Parking Committee is already scheduled to begin reviewing the draft schematic design report which will begin to look at the issues.


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