Tim Holden, the lone candidate challenging St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's re-election, today endorsed an alternative design for the new Saints ballpark in Lowertown.
The design elevates the field and includes a large parking garage underneath. The city's ballpark design doesn't include any public parking and also eliminates more than 300 existing spaces.
"This ballpark is not ready for prime time," Holden said. "We need to slow the project down. We need to listen to the community."
The St. Paul Public Works department says there are more than enough parking spaces available in downtown St. Paul to accommodate the 2,700 cars it estimates will travel to the area on game nights. A parking study found more than 7,000 spaces within six blocks of the ballpark site.
In spite of that, some people who live or work in Lowertown say the reduced supply and increased demand for parking will cost them money and cause them inconvenience.
"I'm going to have to pay more for parking and park about five blocks away, versus one," said Sarah Schiller, who rents a parking spot in one of the lots the ballpark will eliminate.
If there is a parking crunch in Lowertown, it wasn't evident this morning. A reporter driving to Holden's news conference was able to park on the street one block away for just $2.