Where to park? The Wichita Downtown Development Corp. and local government think they have the answer — at least for downtown events and leisure.
There are a few ways to find out.
WDDC and the city have launched a Web site that has an interactive parking map of about 4,000 spots, including nearly 2,000 within about two blocks of Intrust Bank Arena. Spaces within the lots range in price from $2 to $15.
In a couple weeks, you can pick up printed maps that show parking spots and their prices at QuikTrip and Dillons stores — or you can see them in The Eagle on Dec. 13 when the arena's management company, SMG, runs advertisements with parking maps.
During arena events, parking lot attendants will be at all the lots along with signs that tell motorists the price to park and whether spots are available.
Those who have disabilities can park on the arena site (24 spots) or at Lot D (18 spots), at 777 E. Waterman, or they can call the parking hotline at 316-268-4242.
The maps don't show on-street parking or lots that may be privately operated outside of the city's leasing agreement.
Mandy Pankratz, who is coordinating parking for the city, and Jeff Fluhr, president of the WDDC, know that this may not satisfy everyone who has criticized local government for not putting up a big parking garage.
But they said they hope that over the next month people will check out the maps and become more comfortable with where downtown parking is available.
There's another motive as well.
The interactive map shows parking near Century II, Old Town, downtown bars, restaurants, hotels, available office space and more.
For now, the map only shows the area between Kellogg and Central and Washington and the Arkansas River.
But Fluhr said the interactive map will continue to evolve and grow as problems emerge and downtown changes. Eventually he hopes to add applications for smart phones that show parking and other attractions.
Rob Heggen is a leasing agent with Real Development, which owns a lot of downtown property. He lives at Eaton Place, about a block from the arena, so he's familiar with the area — and he doesn't see parking as a major problem.
After looking at the interactive maps, he said he likes that the Web design uses Google Maps instead of something people are less familiar with.
"It's very simple, which is cool," he said. "They could have gone a little too far and made it a whole new mapping application."
Heggen said he was a little confused at first with the "green," "yellow" and "orange" parking lots.
The color designations are used for various events. For example, the Brad Paisley concert, expected to attract a near full house, is a "green" event and shows 28 lots. The Freestyle Motorcross in February is an "orange" event and shows 22 lots.
(Disclaimer: The Eagle is allowing its lot to open for "green" events and is charging $4 per spot.)
Like many, Heggen said the real test will be a sell-out event at the arena.
"I guess we'll see in coming months," he said.