September 28, 2005

Architects Outline Plan To Reconstruct Garage

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At last night’s Ithaca Planning and Development Board meeting, Trowbridge & Wolf Landscape Architects and Planners outlined plans for the reconstruction of the Green Street parking garage and the demolition of the bridge over Green Street and the “Helix” on-ramp on the south side of the street. The Green Street garage changes will continue the reworking of downtown parking options as part of the Cayuga Green project which began with the construction of the newly-opened Cayuga Street garage opposite the Holiday Inn.

The ongoing Cayuga Green project is a massive mixed-use development which will ultimately include a new 12-screen movie theater, complete with a 400-seat outdoor amphitheater, along with thousands of square feet of new housing, retail and office space in the area adjacent to the Tompkins County Public Library on Green Street.

If the proposal by Trowbridge & Wolf is ultimately accepted, the newly-reconstructed garage will feature an internal ramp replacing the external helix and bridge, along with significant new retail space on the ground floor.

“You will see a tripartite garage [in which] the central portion will be radically different, architecturally, than it is now,” Peter Trowbridge told the Planning Board.

Ultimately, Trowbridge said, the new garage will “pull together as a single, holistic project.”

The first step in the reconstruction of the garage will be the demolition of the bridge over Green Street, followed at a later date by the removal of the helix. Trowbridge stressed that because of a mandate from the Ithaca Department of Transportation, at least one lane of Green Street will remain open at all times during demolition, although pedestrian access will be re-routed to the north and south of the construction.

Planning board member Jennifer Dotson expressed concern that the new garage should also feature bike racks for residents who prefer not to drive downtown, a suggestion which Trowbridge indicated would almost certainly be included in the final design.

The Planning Board will meet next month to discuss granting final site plan approval for the modifications to the garage.

Archived article by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
Sun Staff Writer