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|Santa Monica's Civic Center Parking Structure Runs into Another Design Hitch|
By Jorge Casuso
June 25, 2012 -- Santa Monica's award-winning Civic Center Parking Structure is requiring more tweaking to live up to the kudos it received for design and sustainability.
In April, The Lookout found that five years after the structure was opened, there are clear signs that the building's details are degrading, with some of the vertical panels that line the façade of the structure losing their bright colors.
On Tuesday, the City Council is scheduled to address another design hitch when it is expected to approve a $207,000 contract to replace light fixtures that were meant to improve energy efficiency but are proving costly to maintain.
"The existing indirect light fixtures bounce light off of the walls and ceiling of the garage to light the parking spaces," Dean Kubani, the director of the Office of Sustainability & the Environment, wrote in a report to the council.
"These fixtures require increased maintenance to sustain light level outputs because dirt from the garage and the air settles on their upward facing lenses, making frequent cleanings necessary," Kubani wrote.
By replacing the lighting with a more efficient system, the City will save some $32,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs, potentially making the $29 million parking structure the City's first Zero Net Energy building, Kubani said.
Staff is recommending that the City hire the California-based Golden Sun Firm & Company, Inc., to design and construct an energy efficient lighting system.
Unveiled in March 2007, the six-story structure with 882 spaces -- which sits near the entrance and exit ramps at the end of the 10 Freeway -- was touted as one of the nation's most energy efficient parking facilities.
Critics hailed it as a "sparkling destination point" and City officials touted it as a signature gateway to the city. Its design, by local firm Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners, won an American Architecture Award.
The Civic Center structure is expected to see increased use under a City staff proposal that would lower its rates by more than half, from $1.50 every 20 minutes to $1 an hour, with the first hour and a half free. It would also reduce the daily maximum from $9 to $5.
In an effort to draw employees from the public parking structures that line the Third Street Promenade, staff's proposal also lowers the cost of an unrestricted monthly parking pass rate from $82.50 to $65. The proposed plan also would increase the cost of parking Downtown.
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