Is parking a pain on Payne?

According to Anne DeJoy at the East Side Neighborhood Development Company, Payne Avenue has parking deficiencies.

The street, which was built at a time when horses were a common sight along the avenue, can sometimes pose problems for new businesses trying to come to the avenue, she said.

That problem came to the fore recently when Swan Leasing, who purchased the old Furniture Minnesota building at 967 Payne Ave., was denied a parking variance. The building comes with no off-street parking, and in order for it to operate commercially per city code, it would need nine stalls.

Along those lines, ESNDC, along with two other entities, are looking to put in a roughly 42-stall parking lot right off the avenue to serve local businesses.

Payne Avenue Guild, LLC, and the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority are teaming up with ESNDC to try to get more parking in.

The parking would be accessed via the north side of Wells Street, just west of Payne, on what is now four vacant lots owned by the city.

Dan Bayers from the city’s Planning and Economic Development department said the project’s a long time coming, although it’s not quite ready to get underway.

“This project has been in the works for a long time,” he said. “They really are pinched for parking down there.”

With a number of businesses right in the vicinity such as Ward 6, and a potential expansion of Bymore Grocery, the section of Payne Ave. is particularly squeezed for parking, DeJoy said.

Existing supply for parking there will not permit business expansion, said DeJoy, citing the situation at Bymore Supermercado -- the business is doing well, and would like to expand, but needs more parking to meet city code.

Bayers said that some, but not all, ducks are in a row for the parking lot project -- as it stands, there’s a $30-50,000 gap in financing for the roughly $350,000 parking lot. He said it was possible that Payne Avenue Guild would request financial assistance from the city to cover this gap, but they haven’t asked for it yet.

Bayers said the project is “a neighborhood-driven proposal” brought forth with a 2009 parking study done by ESNDC, indicating a lack of off-street parking.

Bayers noted that while parking is a problem along the avenue, “(It) can be a good problem.”

DeJoy added that, considering the city-wide push for more public transit, the organization hopes the need to create parking lots might fade -- “Maybe this is the last time we really have to grapple...with trying to create more parking,” she said.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.


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