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Lansing Ramps “Extreme Makeover”


Lansing, Michigan

Planning, Design, and Administration of Three Total Rehabs

Officials for the City of Lansing, Michigan were concerned about the conditions and appearance of their municipal parking system (with a combined total of 3,000 spaces), especially three parking structures. The structures were as much as 50 years old, and capital maintenance had been deferred for ten years. They had significant deterioration, including post-tensioning failure and extensive concrete spalling/cracking, as well as old parking technology, a lack of appropriate signage, and dated systems.

The City decided to perform an “Extreme Makeover” on the three parking structures and established a $15 million budget. The entire project was scheduled to take place over a four year period. Walker Consultants was retained as the project consultant to provide a wide range of services for the project:

  • Planning
  • Functional design
  • Program management
  • Architectural lighting
  • Mechanical/electrical/plumbing
  • Restoration consulting, engineering, design, construction administration, and field observations
  • Parking consulting services

Exterior of aging concrete parking structure before renovation

Interior of garage showing deterioration before restoration

An Invaluable Member of the Team

“Walker has been an invaluable member of our “Extreme Team.” They have worked tirelessly from foundation to fixture, from rebar to railing, even supporting an art design competition for architectural lighting at the North Capitol Ramp. They have been spectacular to deal with. 

Each member has been personable, helpful, and timely when any of their services were requested.  They consistently went over and above, especially given most of our project happened during COVID. Special recognition is due to Josh Tyler, Joe Juzwiak, and Mike Whalen.”

—Chad A. Gamble, P.E., City of Lansing

Renovated facade of South Capitol Ramp in Lansing with new green metal panels and distinctive signage

The Walker team designed structural restoration, waterproofing repairs, and improvements that included:

  • Parking Access and Revenue Control System replacement,
  • New architectural lighting for facades,
  • Adding a large media screen,
  • Art installations by local artists,
  • New dynamic message signs at entry/exits,
  • New signage throughout each structure,
  • Replacement of elevators at select locations, and
  • Supplemental interior lighting.

Entry/exit lanes seen from inside one of the Lansing ramps, with upgraded PARCS technology

Additional aspects of mechanical/electrical/plumbing work on the structures included:

  • Installation of infrastructure for 20 EV charging spaces,
  • Plumbing and mechanical repairs,
  • Consolidation of existing and abandoned electrical conduit runs,
  • Designing a new ventilation system for a below-grade level of one parking structure and upgrading existing ventilation systems,
  • Power distribution for security cameras, and
  • Full replacement of supported slab drainage systems.

Interior staircase in a Lansing ramp with distinctive colors and icons for each floor

Focus on Art and Placemaking

Walker worked closely with the City to develop concepts and renderings for the programmable architectural lighting on the structures’ facades. Creative wayfinding features were incorporated into exterior facade lighting for each level of parking and the interiors were themed with local art group installations representing the City of Lansing’s automotive history and abundant natural resources. Color coding for each level was purposely identical in all three structures. A large wraparound mural covering an eight-story stair tower creates a sense of place and amplified the visitor experience.

North Grand Ramp seen at night with brightly lit staircase mural and architectural lighting

Aesthetic upgrades were added to vehicle and pedestrian entrances. A 40-foot mural-sized display on one of the ramps will share parking system messages and general downtown event information. The City partnered with Lansing Arts Council to propose programming for this large display that will highlight the work of young local artists. They also led a competition to create a themed lighting design that would help the structures “stand out” and define the areas they serve.

Examples of multiple architectural lighting color schemes on North Grand Ramp: Blue, orange, and purple

Minimize Disruption, Maximize Communication

Walker developed an implementation plan and schedule that focused on minimizing disruption to ongoing public use of the structures throughout the project. The sequencing and timing laid out in Walker’s plan enabled the City to develop and articulate an effective communications plan to keep the public up-to-date on progress throughout the multiple phases of construction. The City retained a communications consultant to help implement the communications plan and to lead the detailed graphics design components of the project.

The Walker team worked closely with specialty consultants selected by the City to integrate their work into the overall project schedule and subsequently monitor their progress during the project. Direct consultants for the project include Johnson Controls, Traffic and Safety, and Edge Communications.

Ready for the Future

With the extreme makeover complete, the City of Lansing’s parking structures not only look new, they serve their customers better, are safer, and act as bold landmarks that enhance downtown.

Exterior of North Capitol Ramp at night with architectural lighting and brightly lit entry/exit lanes visible behind a motion-blurred bus passing in the foreground