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Canal Park transformation presents parking problems

One day into Canal Park’s temporary transformation, and there’s some growing concern. 

City officials say they’re already getting feedback from people regarding parking. 

Part of the plan called for converting South Lake Avenue from a two-lane road… to a three-lane road. 

That means less room for parking, as crews temporarily shut down a dozen parking meters for the month of September.

As part of the city’s Imagine Duluth 2035 initiative, Imagine Canal Park is designed to reshape the area’s neighborhood. 

The city has also closed down Buchanan Street and turned it into a pedestrian plaza, with plans to open up more community ‘pop up’ parks. 

The transformation comes with some major traffic changes around Canal Park.

City officials say they are trying to help make traffic flow smoother, particularly when the Aerial Lift Bridge is up. 

On Thursday, city officials say they’ve already seen plenty of feedback, and so far, parking has been a big concern. 

"If we want to make this a permanent thing, we’ll have a broader community dialogue about what we’re doing with parking in Canal Park. We’ll also potentially look at other parking solutions. We may look at additional partnerships with the DECC, with other locations where it might be appropriate to intensify the parking situation. So, we’ll be looking at a wide range of options as part of a broader community dialogue," said Adam Fulton, Duluth’s Community Planning Manager

Meanwhile, business leaders say they’re happy the city is trying to make improvements to the area. However, some say parking is already a challenge, and they can’t afford to lose any more spots. 

"As a business community, we would like to see no loss of parking. One of the things we hear from our guests, both local residents and visitors alike is that parking is a challenge," said Matt Baumgartner, President of Canal Park Business Association

The Lighthouse Parking Lot will also be closed down to parking from September 4 through 17, and be opened up for many free community events. 

The Duluth Transit Authority has extended their Port Town Trolley buses to several drop-offs and pick-up locations throughout Canal Park. City officials hope that will alleviate some of the parking concerns.?

The temporary lane changes and road closure went into effect Wednesday and last through September 28. 

City officials say they encourage community feedback on the project in order to get a feel of what will work best for everyone. 

For a map of the changes coming to Canal Park click here

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