Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Downtown, Parking, and Parking Garage

Interesting times as Newburyport once again gets heated over the usual issues.

Worth checking out are the stories and the comments on the Daily News on-line:

re $4,500 which the City will spend on a consultant, who will assist with the final details (like how much, time limits, how to collect). This is not to conduct another large scale parking study.

The big picture on a parking garage via a Daily News editorial, which I think gets it right in pointing out that today's decisions about parking and parking garage must be made in light of two future changes: Karp's development (love it or hate it) and an expanded Waterfront Park.

Here's a comment I put on the Daily News site
Just a few facts and a few opinions...

Opinion: The most compelling justification, to me, for a parking garage is to replace the 300 or so spots that would be lost if the NRA lots are converted to a bigger Waterfront Park, which would reduce the parking on the waterfront from 400+ spaces to 100+ spaces. If one favors more park (and I do, realizing there's still more need for argument as to what goes into the park, how do we maintain it, how do we pay for it), then I think you are heading towards supporting a parking garage. I favor more park and I don't like the idea of a parking garage, so you see I'm heading into a pickle.

Fact: Waterfront West aka Karp needs to provide his own parking on Waterfront West site. See Waterfront West Overlay at

Fact: If you have a paid parking garage, no one will park there if the street and off-street parking is free.

Fact: Revenue could be generated from paid street and off street municipal lots which would be significant for the City's general fund AND could also be used to pay for and maintain an expanded Waterfront Park. See

Opinion: Paid parking, if priced right and with the right time limits in the right spaces, has the potential to better manage the utilization of the spaces we have.

Fact: The parking garage is being designed to be 'intermodal' ie connect to bus, bikes, and other forms of local transportation. Buses do already go downtown. It will allow for bus pickup but to call it a bus terminal is a bit of a stretch.

Opinion: This could be an opportunity to stitch together the MBTA commuter rail, the Park and Ride on Route 95, Plum Island with a localized circulator bus (clean energy of course!) which could be funded by the parking revenue.

Anyway, it will be an interesting next few months!

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