Jul 8, 2014 8:38 PM by Andy Koen

Parking may prove problematic at new judicial building

PUEBLO - As construction winds down on the new Pueblo County Judicial Building, business owners nearby are concerned about a lack of parking. Traffic engineers estimate the facility is about 150-spaces short of what they might need in total onsite parking.

City of Pueblo Traffic Engineer Pepper Whittlef said no parking code existed for new government buildings when the zoning application came through. So, her department studied how other jurisdictions provided for parking to establish a baseline.

Their formula counted one space per employee (there are 187 projected employees.) It also counted one space for every two courtroom occupants (16 courtrooms with average 22 person capacity.) The total of 363 parking spaces was above the 217 spots project planners included in their design.

However, the Pueblo Zoning and Planning Commission and the Pueblo City Council both approved the county's plan because of the availability of on-street parking nearby.

"I don't believe we're going to have any problems with overspill on any of the other business lots at all," said project manager Mike Harriman.

There are 160 paved spaces on site and Harriman says there is room for 210 more cars on the streets within a 3-4 block radius of the court house.

"We haven't taken any parking away, again none has been added either," Harriman said.

Businessman Lee Gladney doubts people will be willing to walk four blocks to go to court.

"We just really expect that it's going to impact our business, not only our business but some of our tenants that we have right in the direct area," he said.

Gladney's family owns Pueblo Bearing Services directly across from the courthouse as well as two commercial developments along 5th Street and Greenwood. He says they already dealt with parking issues before construction began.

"We ended up towing probably 25- 30 vehicles and then that got the message through to most people, but if you don't stay on top of it, they just come back," Gladney said.

The first court case in the new judicial building is expected to be heard August 8. The building will house the courts of the 10th Judicial District, the probation department and a new intake facility for the Pueblo County Jail.


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