Ten underground parking lots to appear

  • 2001-01-25
  • Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - The Norwegian firm Conceptor plans to build 10 underground parking lots in Vilnius, with each accommodating 400-500 cars. This could be the answer to the capital city's crowded streets.

Finding a parking place has become a problem in Vilnius and the municipality greeted Conceptor's plans enthusiastically, in the hope of hiding cars underground.

"We'll build two underground parking lots every year starting from this year," Jonas Tamulis, director of Conceptor, told The Baltic Times.

Tamulis said that Lithuanian architects are designing the lots and that Lithuanian construction companies will build them. He also said that Conceptor would participate in the tender for the right to build underground parking in Klaipeda.

According to Tamulis, the Vilnius city government is expected to give final approval of the projects in two months.

"In March or April we can start construction and [should] build two underground parking lots by the end of this year," Tamulis said.

The first two parking lots will be built under a square near the Opera and Ballet Theater and under Gedimino Avenue, Jogailos Street and Odminiu Square. Multi-story underground parking lots near the Opera and Ballet Theater will accommodate more than 400 cars. The others will take up another 500 cars.

The parking under Odminiu Square has raised some concern. It is situated in the Old Town and some archaeologists fear that construction would devastate underground historical and cultural treasures.

Tamulis said their concerns will be taken into consideration.

"The parking lot will be built only after all the necessary archaeological research is completed there," he said.

Archaeologist Daiva Luchtaniene is not categorically against the construction of all underground parking lots.

"It is possible to undertake archaeological research of the place before building. Construction works even give the opportunity for archaeological excavations.

However, I would prefer that underground parking be built outside the Old Town. Vilnius has the biggest Old Town in Eastern Europe. Building of underground parking will require construction for the entrance and exit of cars, which will be built on the ground. Will it be attractive? We should cherish our Old Town," she told The Baltic Times.

Marija Mikneviciute, an architect with the Monuments' Restoration Institute, is in favor of the projects.

"There would be fewer cars in the Old Town and it would be nicer. Our people are spoiled. They are used to parking their cars at the doorsteps of their offices in the Old Town. It is normal to walk some five or 10 minutes from the car to the workplace in large Western cities. Our people also need to get used to such a habit," Mikneviciute said.