I know what you’re thinking. What else would you do if you needed a little inspiration to get out a ride? Visiting every public parking garage in Tippecanoe County has got to be at the top of everyone’s list. Now that you’re all with me – let’s go!
Our tour begins at the Tippecanoe County Garage next to the County Office Building. This garage has two way driving and a nice slope – making it a good ride. The only problem is that the entrance and exit are on busy streets. They exit onto South street right at the bottom of the SR26 bridge over the Wabash, and I often have a long wait for traffic when I leave the garage after parking there for lunch. I would hate to be in line there at the end of the work day. It’s too bad the architects didn’t use 2nd street for the exit.
Next is the City Garage on 6th street. Unlike the previous garage, this one is laid out so that the exit is on the relatively quiet 6th street. It’s only a 3 floor garage, so it’s not much of a workout destination. This structure is connected to the office building where my wife’s pig art was hosted during Hog Wild in 2003.
Up the hill on Ferry street, I found the Home Hospital garage. This one is special to me because it was a common destination for me when I lived in southern Lafayette. From my house to the garage and back, including twice up and down, was 10 miles. I used to often ride there at night – with my bike lights on and taking advantage of the street lights along most of the route. I’m much less comfortable riding at night here in the country. It is just too dark!
Lafayette’s other hospital, Ste. Elizabeth, has a garage that I haven’t visited before today. While not as big as the Purdue University garages, it is the biggest so far today. I don’t ride into this part of town very often (except while speeding down Salem street), so it was nice to see the neighborhood where my daughter was born.
Back downtown, I jumped across the river on the Myers pedestrian Bridge to visit the Wabash Landing garage. This garage normally has an attendant, so I was worried about getting out without being scolded for ignoring the “no bikes” signs. However, while I was up there, I noticed several bikes chained to the posts inside. They probably belong to tenants.
I should mention that the garage is surrounded on two sides by apartments, one side faces a hotel, and the fourth opens onto the Wabash Landing shopping center. It is a neat place with a Borders, Scotty’s Brew Pub, and several other businesses. My family visits quite a bit. The top two floors are for hotel guests only, but I had no problem getting around the gates. Down at the exit, there was no one on duty in the cashier hut.
I had to head up the hill on Quincy street to get to campus, and I stumbled upon the West Lafayette Public Library garage on Chauncey Ave. This is the newest garage in town, and I had forgotten that it was there.
Those first six garages are exactly half of the total to visit today. The 2nd half dozen are on the Purdue University campus. I made a quick loop starting with…
…The Marstellar garage. This is a nice double spiral design (one path up, and another path down), and it was closed much of last summer for major repairs. There are nice views of the south campus and memorial mall areas from the top.
The Wood Street garage is the same double spiral design, but covers more area. This is a favorite destination of mine, since it is near my office. I have been known to hit the garage once before riding home from work. My family watched the downtown fireworks from the top a couple of years ago.
The Grant Street garage is a unique design utilizing square levels with up and down ramps in the middle. It’s not a very challenging ride up, since one has to ride around each level before getting to the next ramp. The hills aren’t long enough to get the heart rate going. This is the only garage offering paid visitor parking on campus.
Winning the award for the most interesting layout, the Northwestern Garage is actually two in one. One side is the same double spiral seen in other campus garages, but tacked onto that is another level that is oddly shaped to apparently fit the space available. There is only one set of ramps, but it is connected at each level to the original structure. It’s kind of confusing to drive through, since one has to use a different set of down ramps depending on which street exit is desired. The visitor information center and parking office are hosted on the ground floor.
The University Street garage is also two garages built side by side, and they are only connected at the top level. I use this quite a bit during the winter when attending meetings in Hovde Hall or Elliot Hall of Music.
Finally, the McCutcheon Garage is located near Purdue West, and is dedicated soley to student residence hall parking. It is also only three levels, but I’ve heard rumors that two or three additional levels may be added.
These garages aren’t that far apart, but starting at my house, riding up and down each garage, doubling back for photos, and heading back home, I traveled 26.0 miles during this tour. (I got a few odd looks from pedestrians when stopping to take a photo of a garage!)