New Hampshire Lawmaker Gets Car Stuck on Concord Parking Garage Ramp

  • Rep. Caleb Dyer got his car stuck on the legislative parking garage in Concord Wednesday January 11, 2017.

Concord Monitor
Thursday, January 12, 2017

Concord — It’s not unusual for lawmakers’ cars to get stuck in the snow on the steep, skinny ramp leading up to the Storrs Street parking deck. But Caleb Dyer’s crash is far from the norm.

The 20-year-old freshman state representative missed the ramp on Wednesday, driving his green Buick sedan up the cement railing, where one side sat perched a couple feet above the ground until a tow truck pulled it down.

There’s almost no damage to the vehicle, but the same can’t be said of Dyer’s pride.

“Even the state trooper that responded was laughing at the situation,” Dyer, of Hudson, N.H., said in an email. “I just hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Soon it may not. House leaders are weighing whether to replace the aging legislative parking garage with a new one, built in the lot that’s currently home to the state Department of Justice building. A request for the state’s capital budget this year seeks $704,200 to begin engineering and design plans.

The Storrs Street garage, built in 1976, is a regular source of lawmaker complaints. The ramps are thin and curve sharply at the bottom, making it hard to maneuver a large SUV or truck in and out.

Lawmakers who park in the garage, situated several stories off the ground behind Eagle Square in downtown Concord, have a farther walk to the State House than those with spots beneath the Legislative Office Building.

“That parking garage is always problematic. ... The ramps ice up; people get stuck in them regularly in the winter,” House Chief of Staff Terry Pfaff said. “It’s reaching the end of its life.”

State officials have talked for years about constructing a new parking garage at the block off Capitol Street.

One idea is to build an L-shaped garage around the existing DOJ building, said Mike Connor with the state Department of Administrative Services.

But other options include constructing a new DOJ building and four-floor parking garage, which could be connected to the Statehouse complex by an underground tunnel.

Any design funding would need approval from the Legislature and governor.

Dyer said his accident wasn’t caused by snow. When the sun’s glare hit the wet pavement, he couldn’t really see the barrier, he wrote in an email. And he underestimated the distance. But he took it in stride.

“Obviously I did not have enough space,” he wrote. “Needless to say, this was pretty embarrassing.”