New Bedford could be getting a new parking garage along the city’s waterfront, as more development in that area is expected to increase the need for more parking there.

In his weekly appearance on WBSM, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell took a phone call suggesting a garage on Union Street, and while Mitchell said it wouldn’t be possible in that particular spot, he did state that the City is considering construction of a 500-space parking garage on waterfront on the former Eversource site.

“We are looking at the possibility of a parking garage on the waterfront because of the projected growth there,” Mitchell said. “There’s a lot to work through there i’m almost reluctant to go into too much detail to raise expectations, but we’re looking into these things because we know we’ve got some parking constraints on the waterfront.”

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Mitchell said the proposed garage would require about an acre of space on the site now being developed for the New Bedford Foss Marine Terminal, to assist in offshore wind projects. Although nothing is set in stone, he said the forthcoming terminal as well as many other projects along the waterfront mean a need for additional parking options.

“The reality is you’ve got a number of pressures on parking on the waterfront. The first is that things are getting busier, which is great,” Mitchell said. “All the planning, all the public and private investment that’s happened, it’s going to require more parking options.”

Mitchell cited the development of State Pier, and how that will take away some of the parking spaces there. He also mentioned the passenger rail service station being built at the Whale’s Tooth parking lot, and how that too will take up spaces there.

“And the new Foss Terminal, there are going to be a lot of people working there, there are going to be a lot of people working at other parts of the waterfront, and so they’ve got to go somewhere, so we’re trying to look ahead and do a parking garage,” he said.

At 500 spaces, the garage would be roughly half the size of the Elm Street garage, but significantly larger than the downtown’s other two parking garages, over the bus terminal and next to the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.

“The challenge with doing a parking garage is that, well, they’re not cheap. For a 500-space garage of the kind I just described, you're talking like $25 million,” he said. “Where does that money come from? So we’re having some discussions with the state about that.”

Still, Mitchell pointed out that it’s no surprise that with all of this additional development along the waterfront, the need for more parking was always going to be a consideration.

“We’ll see but eventually some of those pressures are going to come home to roost – but these are pressures that are good to have,” he said. “New Bedford has not long had the pressures, the problems associated with growth. We’re getting to a point now, we’re growing and we’ve got to accommodate that group.”

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