Judge Doyle Square project could close downtown parking garage

Judge Doyle Square project could close downtown parking garage

If Madison’s Common Council approves the Judge Doyle Square project in September, the massive renovation will include a 17-month closure of the Government East parking garage.

“It will be a difficult period when a ramp is removed,” city of Madison Judge Doyle Square Project Manager George Austin said. “The city is preparing a variety of options to study.”

Austin said options during reconstruction, which would begin in March 2016, would include a park-and-ride or using spaces currently designated as private.

“The real challenge is where can we capture stalls. And that’s what the investigation is. The city has a staff team involved that is identifying opportunities,” Austin said.

But critics, such as East Madison Alderman David Ahrens, worry about the options being considered to temporarily replace Government East’s 560 spaces.

“That sounds like a huge headache for people who work there, for restaurants who depend on people in the evening without having to walk six or seven blocks,” Ahrens said.

The alderman also expressed concern about the public possibly paying higher rates once the project is complete, since 650 of the new parking spaces would be private.

“Parking rates are established by the parking utility and the city council,” Austin said. “And whatever those rates are for the system will be what the public pays. And it will not be dependent on what happens with Exact Sciences or the other uses within Judge Doyle Square.”

The Council’s OK would mean more than $67 million in public money for the $200 million project. Not only would biotech cancer research company Exact Sciences relocate its headquarters, but the project would include a hotel, shopping and food center, and more than 1,200 new parking spaces.