Friday, August 29, 2008

The Parking Question

The parking question arises quickly when talking to those who live in the downtown area or who frequent downtown businesses. It comes in several variations:
  • Is the Library going to build a parking deck?
  • Is the Village going to build a parking deck?
  • Couldn't the Library put in underground parking?
  • Can the Library buy (insert property name/address here) to build more parking?
  • Can the Village buy (insert property name/address here) to build more parking?

Now, I cannot speak for the Village beyond reporting what was said at the Site Feasibility Committee meetings. Those meeting notes are linked on this page, so it's not a secret. Both Library and Village representatives indicated that they cannot commit to funding a parking deck at this time.

All plans to date do include additional parking to meet zoning requirements of the Village. The Village of Plainfield is working with the Library to ensure that shared parking makes the most effective use of the property owned by each.

The bottom line is that decks and underground parking are EXPENSIVE! More than 10 times the cost per space than at-grade parking. That is a hefty investment for any government entity, but particularly for the Library, which only receives 2.4% of the average homeowner's property tax.

With cost as the biggest concern of the Telephone Town Hall meeting participants, the Library's Board of Trustees is committed to a no-frills plan of solid construction that will meet the district's needs into the next decade, without overburdening the taxpayers today. So far, a parking deck does not fit that commitment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How many square feet does it take to make a functional public restroom?

As the library staff and building consultant are working on the draft of the building program, I am learning all sorts of new things - like how many square feet to allot for public restrooms in an expanded library building lobby! (640 total for mens/womens/family, in case you were wondering)

The building program sets the parameters for the architect's design, including everything from allotments for study rooms of various sizes to how big the janitor's closet needs to be. In the process, one discovers that there are standard sizes for things like shelving, seating, and workstations. But you also discover that you have to make allowances for everything from the interior walls (a standard percentage calculation for "nonassignable" space, as it turns out) to the storage of tables for the meeting rooms.

Going beyond the standard calculations is where things get more difficult. Your library staff is wracking their brains to try to remember all the good ideas they have heard from you about space. For example: including a second chair to accomodate both parent and child at the Children's area PCs. Staff have made notes for months on this, compiling them into lists of items that require a space allotment, interior design notes, exterior design notes, and ideas for green design.

The draft of the building program will be posted here as it nears completion. In the meantime, you can help by submitting your idea here: or jotting it down on a suggestion box slip at the library! It's your library, so let us know what you want. What spaces/features would make your library experience better?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions

Now available on the website - a list of frequently asked questions about the library's expansion planning, including those asked during the telephone town hall meeting:

This FAQ will be updated throughout the planning process, as more answers become available and as we hear from you what your questions are. Comment here, email through the general contact on the website, jot down your question on a suggestion box slip next time you are in the library, call me and ask - whatever is most convenient for you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Telephone Town Hall MP3 file now available

The recording of the full Telephone Town Hall Meeting from 7/29/08 is available here:

The recording begins as soon as the auto-dialer began making outgoing calls, so the first minute or two are near silent while we wait for people to begin to connect.

Thanks for listening!