By David Schultz
A publicly-funded parking garage near the University Of Maryland in College Park is often half empty, more than a year after opening. But the planners who built it say the garage is part of their long-term vision for their city.
There are only a handful of cars in this garage, just off Route 1 near campus. That's the way it usually is.
The City of College Park built this five-story garage a year ago at a cost of $9 million. At its busiest, it gets about half full, but it's usually much less than that.
"As far as I'm concerned, everything is working out basically as we planned," says Bob Catlin, a College Park City Councilman.
He says, rather than wait for the town to become congested, College Park built the garage in anticipation of future development.
"This was all planned before the recession, so that has hindered things some," he says. "But the reality is, I think in two or three years the garage is going to be doing very well."
Catlin says a huge residential project is set to open a few blocks from the garage. But that won't be for at least another three years.
Until then, College Park will have ample parking.