If you haven’t heard, the mayor recently announced a proposal to build two new parking garages downtown. I’ve listened to people chatting about the pros and cons of the whole thing, and here’s my two cents:
I think that parking is only a big problem in the Short North area as of today. There’s few surface lots, few garages, and few public parking spots. And we’re not going to have any sort of solution available in that area for another year when the Urban Oasis public garage goes in adding a whopping 250 spots. We needed an extra 250 spots in the Short North 3 years ago. Who knows what we’ll need next year when we finally get these.
As for downtown, I agree with a lot of people who are saying that parking isn’t a huge problem today. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared for change. The new Edwards project is going to take up 9 city blocks, almost all of which are currently parking lots. According to that Dispatch article I posted earlier, 1,500 parking spots are going away downtown in the next year and a half. These parking garages being planned aren’t going to help us with parking, they’re going to give us 1,400 spots back, barely even maintaining the status quo.
If we don’t do SOMETHING ahead of time, we’re likely to have a similar parking problem with what the Short North is facing today. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d rather fix a problem ahead of time with proper planning instead of waiting until the problem turns into an emergency before we even start to think about doing something about it.
I really see this as a great display of the whole “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” public outcry problem the city faces. People will scream at the city for allowing the parking problem in the Short North to get so bad and not doing anything about it until now, and then turn around and scream at the city for trying to build parking garages downtown ahead of the curve when a lot of parking spaces are in the process of disappearing.