Innovative Solutions Revitalize Collins Street Parking Lot

Posted By: Ryan Wallace Blog,

Collins Street Parking Lot brings value to Oconomowoc
Written by: Ryan Wallace, PE, Baxter & Woodman

Human Movement and Water Resources engineering disciplines

The Collins Street Parking Lot in Oconomowoc is a vital asset for the downtown area, offering access to nearby businesses for patrons and employees. However, it faced challenges with regular stormwater ponding issues and a deteriorating retaining wall. To tackle these issues, the City presented three design alternatives focused on maximizing parking space and replacing the retaining wall. The Baxter & Woodman team analyzed the site elevations and drainage needs, refining concepts to minimize retaining wall replacement costs.

Balancing Project Needs

The Collins Street Parking Lot Reconstruction project faced several unique hurdles, including providing the largest possible bioretention basin to treat the significant stormwater runoff while limiting the outflow to the existing storm water lift station, maximizing the number of parking stalls, and limiting the costs associated with replacement of the existing retaining walls. The parking lot is surrounded by more than 25 properties, each with varying right-of-way and easements in place. The design needed to minimize impact to those local stakeholders both during and post construction. 

In addition, Collins Street was scheduled to be reconstructed the year following the parking lot completion, so the project team needed to provide a solution for the curb and sidewalk adjacent to Collins Street that would work not only with the existing conditions, but also with the future Collins Street changes. By balancing the needs of several competing interests, the project team was able to provide several concepts and guide the City to a design solution that successfully addressed their needs while providing significant cost savings.

Delivering Community Value

The alley connecting the parking lot to downtown businesses was upgraded to be ADA-compliant.The $849,000 project was completed under the approved $867,000 construction cost and within the scheduled timeframe. The project brought multiple benefits to the community, such as improved pedestrian safety, enhanced stormwater management, and optimized parking lot functionality. The alley connecting the parking lot to downtown businesses was upgraded with an ADA-compliant surface and stamped concrete border. The new bioretention basin improved stormwater treatment before discharge into Fowler Lake. Furthermore, modern LED lighting was installed, offering greater control, energy efficiency, and reduced light pollution.

Meeting An Expedited Schedule

The City requested that design and construction of the lot occur within six months in order to utilize the allocated funding for the project. The Baxter & Woodman team engaged stakeholders to verify the selected alternative best met community needs, completed the design, obtained the required permits, and oversaw construction within the expedited timeline and available budget.

The Collins Street Parking Lot Reconstruction project highlights the importance of communication, collaboration, and the ability to adapt and reevaluate design options to meet changing needs and requirements for long-term benefits.

About the Guest Blogger

Baxter & Woodman company logo

Ryan Wallace, PE is Assistant Department Manager of Baxter & Woodman’s Wisconsin Transportation Department and served as Project Manager for Oconomowoc’s Collins Street Parking Lot Reconstruction project. Mr. Wallace has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa. He has been with Baxter & Woodman, Inc. since 2008. Baxter & Woodman, Inc. has been providing innovative civil and environmental engineering solutions to clients since 1946.

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