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Madison’s first public parking garage outside of Downtown is now open to workers, residents and visitors of the Near East Side.

The $18.2 million garage, which opened Monday, provides 650 parking spots at the intersection of East Main and South Livingston streets. Included as part of the project is about 5,500 square feet of commercial space attached to the five-level South Livingston Street Garage, which was formerly referred to as the Capitol East garage before and during construction.

A majority of the parking spaces will be taken up during weekday work hours by tenants of American Family Insurance’s Spark building and The Gebhardt Building on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, neither of which have on-site parking.

The parking lease with the city reserves 550 stalls for the occupants of the two buildings Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., an agreement that drew criticism from some City Council members.

City officials have touted the parking garage as a way to relieve pressure on parking concerns for the event-laden Tenney-Lapham and Marquette neighborhoods.

The parking garage is located a couple of blocks from popular sporting, concert and festival locations in Breese Stevens Field and McPike Park, formerly Central Park. It is also across East Main Street from the recently opened 2,500-person capacity music venue The Sylvee.

The ramp is open for parking, but some finishing work still needs to be completed in the coming weeks, according to the city’s Parking Utility. Construction on the project started in October 2017.

The garage has 20 spaces for motorcycles and mopeds, covered bicycle parking and two elevators. It is also slated to include charging stations for electric vehicles and a BCycle station.

Vehicles can enter the garage from both East Main and South Livingston streets. The hourly parking rate is $0.80. Monthly and yearly permits are also available.

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Logan Wroge has been a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal since 2015.