Answer Man: When will the construction be done in front of the library? I miss going, but need to park out front and run in and out quickly. I hope it's soon! — Jessica Johnson

Jessica: You may want to consider trying out the parking ramp behind the library, because the ongoing sewer work isn’t set to wrap up until August, which is about a month behind the original schedule.

Work started in May 2018 on First Avenue Southeast, on the west side of the library and turned onto Second Street this summer.

Matt Crawford, the Rochester Public Works project development manager, told one of my minions that the contractor ran into snags related to groundwater concerns that delayed efforts in front of the library.

Current plans call for opening two travel lanes in front of the library in February, but it will be a temporary road surface that will need to be replaced in the spring.

As far as parking goes. Crawford said the parking that will be changed back on Second Street are the handicap spaces in the drop-off location. However, the city also plans to reinstall First Avenue Southeast meters to provide some nearby on-street nearby parking.

In the spring, the contractor is expected to work west of First Avenue, extending the project toward Broadway Avenue, which will again restrict traffic to a westbound-only lane on Second Street, likely through August.

As you noted, the work has limited access to the library for some.

A recent study of library and bookmobile activity shows visits dropped 4 percent during the construction period, but library officials note the total decline can’t be attributed to construction, since a variety of other factors may be in play.

That said, the limited access can’t help.

Still, options exist as work continues.

As one of those quick-in and quick-out patrons, the parking ramp is available without cost, since it’s free for the first hour. As an added benefit, it provides cover from the winter weather by connecting to the library through the skyway.

Another option would be reserving books and other items for pickup at the bookmobile. You can find the schedule online at https://www.rplmn.org/services/bookmobile, and reserve items through the library’s main site.

While they might not be ideal, either option is better than choosing to skip regular library visits, in my opinion.

If the Answer Man doesn't know the answer, you can try the Rochester Public Library's Reference Desk. Call 328-2309 or text 722-1581.

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