Lincoln, NEB. The city is offering new options to make parking easier for those headed to Downtown, the Pinnacle Bank Arena and the West Haymarket.
A new Evening Star Shuttle will take passengers on a route that includes many of the City's Park and Go garages. The shuttle will operate from 6:45 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through July 12. The fare is just 25 cents, but those who present a Park and Go ticket or a current bus pass may ride for free. The shuttle will run on a continuous 15-minute schedule
"Many Downtown parking garages outside the Haymarket see most of their use during the day," Mayor Chris Beutler said. "In the evening, they have a great deal of capacity to serve people headed to the West Haymarket and the Arena. The only barrier is the distance of these Downtown garages to the Haymarket. Thanks to StarTran, distance will no longer be an issue. The new shuttle will be convenient, fast, and inexpensive."
Beutler said parking has been difficult in the West Haymarket because private development has occurred much faster than the City anticipated. About 2,100 new parking spaces have recently been created or will be available this year:
About 950 stalls at the Blue 3 Garage at "P" Street and Arena Drive will be available by the end of July.
About 700 stalls at the Green 2 Garage at "Q" Street and Arena Drive will be available by Labor Day.
About 450 stalls were recently added at the Lumberworks Garage at 700 "N" Street.
Beutler said the shuttle is a pilot program to determine the level of interest from the public. City officials will talk with business owners and Arena staff to determine whether the service should continue once the new garages are open.
"During the three-month pilot, the shuttle will be available for seven major concert events," Beutler said. "We hope the new route will end some frustration reported by those who find parking challenging in the new West Haymarket and help business owners provide parking for their regular patrons."
The City is working on several other options:
The City and business owners are looking for safe, affordable and convenient parking options for the 300 to 400 employees of Haymarket businesses.
The City will distribute parking maps to businesses to help them educate customers about their parking options.
During Arena events, the City will expand its use of message boards to help people find available parking and avoid traffic congestion.
Parking Services is developing a parking app for smart phones to help users find optimal parking based on vicinity and capacity.
More information is available at startran.lincoln.ne.gov and parkandgo.org or by calling 402-476-1234 (StarTran) or 402-441-PARK.