Four levels to be added to top of Graham parking ramp

By Bob Freund

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Mayo Clinic will deal with a daily traffic jam for patient-and-visitor parking at its downtown Rochester campus by topping a ramp with 400 new spaces.

A four-level addition to its Graham Parking Ramp will increase parking reserved for patients and visitors by about 25 percent, said Christine Hindt, Mayo’s supervisor for parking and transportation.

The problem is simple: too many patient cars vying for too few parking spaces. "We are moving patients from patient parking to employee parking on a daily basis ... because of all the patients we’re seeing," she said Thursday.


The clinic has been sending the overflow to 130 parking spaces borrowed from its west employee ramp. But the Graham ramp is much closer to clinic treatment areas and more convenient for patients, Hindt said.

Signs of the expansion already show on the Graham site, at Third Avenue between First and Second streets northwest. Crews are assembling a tower crane for the construction, which is to start in June.

The project, estimated to cost $8.1 million, will stack four more floors of parking atop the Graham’s current five decks and will add an elevator to the two now serving the parking complex.

City building officials are reviewing a building-permit application.

The Graham ramp, which opened in 2002, currently holds 568 spaces, with one below-ground level of 162 reserved for physicians and 406 spots in the other four levels designated for patients and visitors. Mayo’s downtown campus currently offers a total of 1,522 spaces for patient-and-visitor parking.

When completed in December, the expansion will enlarge the Graham ramp by about 400 patient-visitor spaces, Hindt said. The clinic also is working on other patient parking solutions there.

The borrowed overflow spaces in the clinic’s west employee ramp will revert to employee parking when the expansion is done, the Mayo officials said.

Finding space for tens of thousands of clinic workers long has been a problem. Ramp spaces currently are available just to employees hired by May 30, 1998, almost a decade ago.


Mayo spends close to $3.4 million each year buying bus fares for out-of-town workers who use commuter routes, as well as for employees using park-and-ride lots, Hindt said. Rochester City Lines operates those bus routes, which are available to the general public. A new route to the Twin Cities is among the commuter runs, and some patients have been riding it to the clinic for appointments, the Mayo manager said.

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