Alternative parking available as ground breaks on long-awaited Old Towne Orange parking structure – Orange County Register

Chapman University is offering two alternatives for parking near Old Towne during the construction of a 611-space parking structure near the Metrolink station.

The public parking lot at Lemon Street and Chapman Avenue, which the new structure will replace, closed last week with the start of the construction. That would leave the transit station and businesses around the plaza area with 172 fewer spaces for visitors.

Chapman is letting drivers for free and without permits use its nearby surface parking lot on Palm Avenue and the top level of the school’s West Campus Structure off of Cypress Street.

Overnight parking is available at the Palm lot, while the structure’s top level is closed from 2 to 5 a.m.

In all, the Chapman parking more than makes up for the temporarily loss of spaces, Orange County Transportation Authority officials said.

The agency expects to have its five-level structure completed in 18 months.

When the structure opens, 500 of the 611 spaces will be earmarked for those using buses and trains at the nearby Orange Transportation Center. The remaining 111 will be for public use.

The structure’s final design is influenced by the historic surroundings, and will include amenities such as bike racks, lockers, and electric car charging ports.

The $33.2 million project faced years of delays and rising costs after the state began dissolving redevelopment agencies in 2011.

As the proposal languished, Old Towne’s parking woes surged along with traffic coming to visit the historic district. Even after construction was looking like a reality again, a team of merchants, property owners and city staffers started brainstorming further solutions. One idea was a valet service pilot program for Old Towne, which was launched in June but soon suspended for lack of use.

The valet service re-launched last week to coincide with the Lemon Street parking lot’s closure, but is no longer active on Sundays. The service still costs $6 a car and is available 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Located just two blocks from the city’s…

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