Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Baylor for Mayor: On parking "opportunities" in downtown New Albany.

Thanks to JS for the Google Map view.

There is a popular perception that downtown New Albany has a parking problem. This perception is mistaken, and results from two factors, both of which involve an abdication of responsibility.

First, downtown merchants and business owners have been unwilling or unable to become better informed about parking, and to speak as one voice about parking. Worse, not all of them have policed parking on behalf of downtown's better interests, as when employees (and owners) are allowed to use customer parking spaces.

Why would you do this?

Second, beginning with Doug England's third term, the city of New Albany has chosen not to enforce any semblance of a level playing field as it pertains to downtown parking. When an employee uses a parking space for eight hours during prime time, there are no consequences.

Why would you do that?

Too many employers do nothing. The city does nothing. Both point at the other, expecting solutions, when neither will expend capital to find them. Free parking comes at a price, and the sooner we recognize this fact, the easier it will be to do something.

It seems almost as though neither the merchants nor City Hall wishes to actually lead by deciding what works best for the most users in the broadest physical space, implementing a policy, using the bully pulpit to educate and inform, and connecting parking solutions to an overall plan for multi-modal use of streets and sidewalks.

We have no overall multi-modal street and sidewalk plan, no goals, and no notion of what vitally necessary steps like Jeff Speck's downtown street network proposal entail in terms of preparing ourselves for implementation and making walkability an aspect of design, rather than an accidental outgrowth of serendipity.

Parking's a part of this. Public safety for all users is a part of this. All of this currently is being neglected, and this neglect will cease during my administration.

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