Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Parking Garage: Con and Pro

Here's an excerpt from the anti-garage argument from the anonymous Downtown Newburyport Residents and Abutters blog now with over 200 non-anonymous petitioners. The entire argument can be seen here.

Choosing downtown Newburyport as the location for a large multilevel parking garage is a mistake. It is inappropriate, incorrectly researched and will benefit the few and not the many citizens of Newburyport.

1: Inappropriate:

Trying to force fit a big box downtown is dangerously out of scale with its surroundings and will irreversibly damage the unique charming historic essence of our city. In the 1970s, when shortsighted commercial interests wanted to bulldoze our beautiful downtown brick row houses, visionary leaders rallied the residents of the city to save what is now the center of our historic seacoast community. Over the years, we have nurtured and protected the fragile charm of our wonderful city. Today, we are thankful that our city was not destroyed by ill-considered development, and we mustn’t let that happen again now.

By inserting a large oversized structure into our elegant fragile city, we will be driving more traffic and more cars and buses into our downtown area. Do we really want this to happen? Does anyone know of any residents who do? Have we looked at the impact that such a facility will have on crime, vagrants, pollution and many of the other well documented negative results of similar facilities? Most importantly, installing the proposed out of scale facility, will be irreversible. The historic essence, harmony and beauty of our downtown will be changed forever. There will be no going back from such an unnecessary project.

I wasn't aware of the 'well documented negative results' like 'vagrants'.

Anyways, here's the anti-anti-garage case for a parking garage from the anonymous P. Preservationist. The entire post can be read here:

In addition, the anti-parking garage people’s arguments for this petition are incredibly weak.

Here below are their points and below, some counter-points:

Inappropriate and out of scale and historically inappropriate.

A parking garage can be done terribly or it can be done well. By having historic storefront architecture hiding the parking garage on the street level is doing it well. A good example is along Tremont Street in Boston. The ghastly parking garages in Boston and Worcester that stand out like hideous sore thumbs are done terribly. In Newburyport, the consultants if they want to sell these garages need to do a better job of hiding them. As for inappropriate, garages in Portsmouth and Salem are to scale and have certainly not harmed the historic downtown. How historically appropriate are large impervious surfaces called parking lots? Hardly a facet of 18th and 19th century Newburyport. On the other hand, a hidden parking garage will actually compliment the historic feel of the city with street-facing compatible architecture.

Incorrectly researched.

How much research is needed so common sense prevails? Newburyport is already a nightmare for parking during the main tourist season. When the waterfront parking disappears and is replaced by the Maritime Park, we will begin to see businesses impacted severely when customers find no place to put their cars. What about the hue and cry by residents as people begin to park blocks away?

Benefits the few and not the many.

As I have already re-affirmed, this group wants Newburyport for themselves. They hate visitors and they hate the customers who will prosper our businesses who we want to come in ever increasing numbers. Our city is not a charming historic country club for residents only. How are 17,000 plus people suppose to support our large tally of restaurants and shops? Our economy is based on increasing visitors not chasing them away. Those “few”(visitors) just happen to be the very economic base of our community. Their absence will harm "the many" (i.e. locals). We need to fight xenophobia. Xeno in Greek is “stranger”. We need to stop a fear of strangers in our midst. A healthier attitude is to say, “Welcome to Newburyport, spend your money…and get out”. I can live with that!*

Should be a very interesting public meeting on Thursday, April 29 at 7PM at City Hall Auditorium. I'll be a few minutes late celebrating my 7 year old's birthday, so save me a seat and I'll bring you a piece of cake;-).

Ed Cameron


Ari Herzog said...

What kind of cake are you having? A vanilla cake or one of those ice cream cakes? Yum!

Do you think if an anti-garage person and an anti-anti-garage person ate cake together, they'd be more cheerful toward each other?

I might sit in the balcony and take pictures of the cacophony. LOL

Anonymous said...

This will sound completely hypocritical...but I don't trust the anonymous anti-garage movement. It smacks of a weird agenda; there's more than a fear of vagrants and public transportation behind it.

Personally I'm not in favor of the financial burden involved in constructing a garage. I'd like to see a study demonstrating a need for one, and I'm concerned that Newburyport may end up buying Karp a garage.

However...if you're going to vote for one, put it where the Green Street lot is now. It's already a parking lot, for Pete's sake. Oh, and work with the NRA on the timing of all this; I'd hate to see an empty garage while people are parking down by the waterfront.

- The Carrot

Ed Cameron said...

Ari, this is the most sense you've made in quite awhile. I think it was Humphrey Bogart who said, "Never trust a man who doesn't eat cake." Just don't eat it in the morning...makes ya look cheap. And you spelt cacophony correktly ;-).

Carrot, I am getting closer to discovering your identity. You are not Jim Roy because he favors the Titcomb site.


Anonymous said...

parking isn't a nightmare in newburyport. there are plenty of spots to park, people just don't want to be hassled to park somewhere where they'll have to walk to their ultimate destination. a parking garage will not solve that, in fact the site of the lot is further from downtown than the water front lots. its a bad idea, has been a bad idea, and will ultimately only serve the needs of Karp and his development, not the citizens of newburyport.

Anonymous said...

Heck, Ed, even *I* would have told you I'm not Jim Roy.

And, might I add, I'm surprised Jim is in favor of a garage at all.

- The Carrot