City Planning Alternatives When Hanover Garage Project Limits Elevator Access

March 22, 2024

The City of Portsmouth NH is currently in the second year of a three-year project for the major renovation of the High-Hanover Parking Facility. The project is designed to enhance the overall safety and longevity of the structure, improve traffic flow, and replace the traffic control equipment that governs garage entry and exit.

The project’s current phase includes work above the Hanover Street Entrance/Exit which requires the temporary closure of that primary entrance/exit. This phase of the project is on schedule and is expected to be completed by April 19, 2024. However, the garage is reduced to two vehicular entrance points and one exit – High Street entrance only and Fleet Street entrance/exit – until this phase of the project is completed.

Starting April 1, 2024, garage repair work will extend to the elevator area, limiting access as follows:

  • April 1, 2024 – April 14, 2024: No elevator access from Level Two
  • April 15, 2024 – April 19, 2024: No elevator access from Level One (Level Two access restored)

The elevator will remain in operation from each of the other levels. Temporary signage will direct patrons to levels with elevator access and staff will ensure access and provide assistance as needed.

For safety purposes, any area being repaired requires that all areas directly beneath are structurally reinforced down to ground level, with corresponding parking spaces and travel lanes removed from use. Necessarily, this changes the traffic flow and available parking inventory daily. During construction, staff also strive to manage traffic volume on Fleet Street to minimize impacts to emergency vehicle routes for the Portsmouth Fire Department.

The City continues to work to limit delays in the exit times from the garage and has taken the following actions to mitigate wait times:

  • Partnered with large performance venues to offer $3 flat rate parking at the Foundry Garage;
  • Capped the number of overall vehicles allowed into the Hanover facility to reduce the number that might seek to exit at one time (such as the end of an event at The Music Hall);
  • Enhanced signage at each entrance, encouraging the use of the Foundry facility as an alternative to long-term (and event) parking at Hanover; and
  • Encouraged performance venues to advertise the Foundry and its $3 rate, as well as encourage event goers to spend time after the show on other activities, such as dining or shopping in Downtown Portsmouth rather than attempting to exit the facility en-masse with the outbound event traffic.

Prior to the start of the project, in an effort to mitigate parking demand, the City Parking Division offered incentives for Monthly Parking passholders to move to the Foundry Garage at dramatically reduced monthly rates. This reduced the number of monthly contract holders at Hanover from 750 to roughly 400 and helped to alleviate demand issues. Each of these measures has helped with mitigating exit demand while the Hanover Street exit/entrance is closed. Once the Hanover exit/entrance is reopened, customers will experience redesigned exit lanes, signage, and new, more effective payment technology, similar to what is found at the Foundry Garage.

“We understand that construction of this nature is very disruptive,” commented DPW Director Peter Rice. “The improvements presently underway will extend the useful life of the facility and ultimately enhance the overall experience for garage users. We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding that their safety is our first priority.”