Grand Parade parking project will accommodate 900 cars
The Gibraltar Government has unveiled plans for a 900-space car park in Grand Parade.
The development will more than double the existing number of spaces, which currently stands at approximately 400.
The project will take approximately 18 months to complete and will be done in phases to minimise the disruption of parking availability. In addition, residents will be given priority during the construction period for parking spaces.
The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia and Minister for Traffic Paul Balban revealed the plans at a press conference yesterday.
“The Government has listened to the feedback and complaints that residents of the area have voiced over the years about the difficulty of finding parking and Government has therefore taken into account the fact that a car parking problem has long existed there,” the Government said in a statement.
The current parking scheme caters for residential, free, disabled, motorcycle and pay and display parking, as well as drop off or loading bays.
The proposed car park will still accommodate these types of parking, and spaces for sale, lock-up garages for sale, monthly rentals.
Residents of Alameda Estate, Trafalgar House and the southern end of town will have first priority for the sale of car parking spaces, lock-up garages and monthly rentals.
Mr Balban noted that data collected as part of the STTPP has shown that the town centre, especially the southern end of town, is the worst area of Gibraltar in terms of car parking availability with the lowest ratio of car parking spaces to dwellings.
“This proposal will help relieve the huge demand for car parking that already exists primarily in Alameda Estate, Trafalgar House, south Main Street and the southern Upper Town. It will address the acute shortfall of parking, which is especially important in view of the residential parking scheme proposed in the area of town,” Mr Balban said.
There will also be a number of commercial units on the ground floor, which will face on to the street.
Dr Garcia noted that in the past there had been several proposals for high-rise developments on Grand Parade but that the current proposal is low-rise and makes better use of the existing land resources.
“It provides very real public gains in an area that is desperate for more car parking spaces. Grand Parade has long been earmarked for a parking development both by the previous administration and by this one. Indeed, this is not the first time that such a proposal has been made,” Dr Garcia said.
“The fact that the car park will be located outside the City Walls in what is virtually the entrance to the southern end of Main Street will be good news for visitors and good news for residents,” he added.
Regarding the environment and the potential changes that may face fossil fuelled cars the car park will be fitted with electrical charging points, making the facility “future proof.”
At present, Mr Balban is unable to give the exact number of spaces that will have this facility as the lay out of the car park is still being worked on.
The bottom floor of the car park will be a half floor that is underground, and will be created from the existing slope in Grand Parade. The next level will be at the same height parking currently is and the next level will be created over it. Another half level will be created behind it.
“The innovative design means that the building will be visually perceived as a single storey because the intention is that the upper levels will be stepped back, hence reducing the building’s impact,” said Dr Garcia.
The Eastern boundary with the Alameda Gardens will include the vehicle ramps to allow for a stepping down of the building line and this boundary will be softened with a new tree line to relate visually to the Alameda backdrop.
A green wall will also be provided in order to mask the ramps.
The external cladding of the car park will use natural colours to combine with the green backdrop, and will create enclosure whilst allowing views through the façade and encouraging natural air flow.
The internal design aims to minimise vehicular congestion at the entrance, by having separate up and down ramps away from the entrance areas. It also aims to improve internal pedestrian circulation and inclusive accessibility with three lift/stair cores at strategic corners.
“The Alameda Gardens entrance gates and steps are an important feature of the site and will remain so,” the Government statement said.
“The proposals retain and celebrate the view towards the gates and steps and form a front forecourt, leaving sight lines open from the adjacent approach. The cannons facing the parade will be retained and restored to a new prominent emplacement within this new forecourt,” it added.
The Government has set up the automated email address firstname.lastname@example.org where motorists can register “a very preliminary and informal interest in a car parking space or a lock-up garage.”
A formal application process will follow in due course.
Once the project is filed with the Development and Planning Commission it will mark the formal start of the consultation process.