Rethink downtown parking study

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Apr 2, 2013

 

My topic this week is the downtown parking study.

The commissioners have agreed to bring legislation to the table regarding a downtown parking study. The total cost of this study will be $38,500 with $20,000 coming from one of the local foundations and $18,500 coming from the Battery Park TIF, which is an excessive amount to study a small area of town.  

Does the city need a study to tell us what we already know, that downtown is growing and it is in need of more parking spaces? With the Rieger being remodeled and the possibility of City Hall moving downtown, both projects will place a strain on the parking spaces. Will the study show we need meters for revenue, maybe there is a need to add a couple more floors to the county parking garage, or even an additional parking garage? The city placed meters downtown once before and it caused a loss of business. We even moved City Hall downtown and decided to move it back out of town because of the parking situation. When will the city learn from its past mistakes and stop repeating them?

What happens when the study is completed? Will the city waste even more money because the city cannot afford to take action on the recommendations leaving the city with $18,500 of wasted money? The city has a broken phone system that can’t be repaired anymore and we are wasting money on a study. Where are the responsibilities and priorities for meeting our most critical obligations when it comes to accountability of our tax dollars?

The Mainstreet Association meets regularly with the City Manager to lobby for their downtown projects. A more even distribution of projects is needed so it doesn’t all flow into the downtown district. Sometimes the city has to just say no to the group’s demands and allow the rest of the city to catch up on projects needed elsewhere.
 
It seems when the Battery Park TIF ($53,00 balance) starts to accumulate any kind of funds, the commissioners feel a need to burn through the money. Ms. Ard has a list of priorities and a parking study was not one of them. The commissioners need to stay focused and not wander from the critical priorities set forth for the year.

Until next week, lets hope the commissioners rethink their vote enough to be more responsible with our tax dollars.

Comments

Man of the Republic

If you move City Hall downtown (be it in the county building or in an already empty space, then you should have a place that is designated for City Hall parking. I think it'd be best if that parking was off the street, so putting it in the County parking garage would be best.

Meters aren't a good idea, I don't think. Best strategy would be to build a city garage either at the Water/Jackson corner where that public parking lot is, or behind citizen's bank. Use that garage, in conjunction with the county garage, and charge something minimal like $5 and make all street parking an hour or two limit. The City/County could sell parking passes, ($50 park all year in the garage free) to raise quick money at the beginning of each year.

Study done, and I didn't charge a cent. You're welcome, Sandusky.

MainStreet

Sharon,

Thank you for sharing your opinion with us, but let me clarify some facts for you. This is not a Sandusky Main Street initiated project. We were contacted by multiple downtown stakeholders, those residents and businesses that have made financial investments in downtown including property development and job creation to act as their liaison to the City Manager and Commissioners regarding parking concerns they see both current and long range as development continues.

This is not just a Parking Study, it will be a Comprehensive Parking Plan with recommendations and implementation plans that will look at all aspects of parking in the entire downtown area. Below is an excerpt from the Project Understanding section of the proposal. I hope it will help you and others see that it is not money wasted, but an investment in our community that will allow further business recruitment, property redevelopment and overall growth by having an infrastructure that is ready and organized to handle it. More businesses means more jobs, which allows the city the revenue to fund necessary projects citywide.

PROJECT UNDERSTANDING
The Sandusky Main Street Association is interested in conducting an objective review of the current parking management program with a focus on developing a more effective parking management plan to support the health and vibrancy of downtown Sandusky. This effort will essentially provide the framework and implementation plan for the creation of a new municipal parking program.
Using our “Parking Management and Design Best Practices” program as a basis, Kimley-Horn proposes to provide the Sandusky Main Street Association with an analysis of parking system strengths and weakness and the identification of key areas for prioritization for program development. This analysis will lead into the development of a parking strategic action plan document which will include specific recommendations in a variety of functional categories......

As to the cost of the Plan. Those who are familiar with this type of Plan will tell you the price is quite reasonable considering its scope. Sandusky Main Street was able to negotiate down the proposed price, and was also instrumental in securing over half the money needed for the Plan through a grant request to the local foundation, thereby saving the taxpayers money on the overall cost.

Anyone interested in learning more about this project and why those who have invested in downtown feel it is necessary, can call the Main Street Association office at 419-627-5942.

Perkahontas

Her basic position is we need more parking, so build more parking. So if we follow her...

Prediction: in 3 years (if her 5 minutes still aren't up) she will use this space to complain about how we have too much parking downtown. Her phrasing will be something like "all that extra parking is taking up valuable space that could be used for business. The Commission should have thought things through."

Factitious

Mainstreet need not dignify this gadfly's persistent and unjustified criticism, but your answer is a good one.

wiredmama222

@factitious....good answer

wiredmama222

@mainstreet....I appreciate what you posted. Thanks so much for what you said. I, for one, like learning about the plans you have. Also, here is a thought...for what it is worth. If the city does move from it's location and the "pool" opens back up, perhaps the old building could be razed and they could use that property as parking area for the pool complex. That solves the problem for the pool parking and the boat basin in one felled swoop. Just a thought.

As for the rest of downtown, the next time they take down a terrible building near downtown, they might consider paving it for parking instead of a park. (I can hear the screaming now). We have lovely parks now, but if parking is an issue, then taking down buildings that are no longer viable and safe is an option, they might consider using that land for parking facilitation intead of parks. Just a thought. Walking a short distance to shop downtown isn't THAT big a deal, any more than trucking the mall parking lot is.

reader

The Battery Park TIF money could be better used to fill in the old wave action pool and open up that property from the street to the bay.

wiredmama222

I would LOVE to see that pool reopened, this time with qualified life guards and better insurance and police presence if necessary. It has sat far too long. This city does little to nothing for it's own residence: compared to places like Port Clinton. The do a great deal of offerings and they get responses. We have beautiful parks: ever notice that people do not use them much (except for wedding pictures?).

The city is always starting things: they don't finish them. That drives me NUTS! So, yes, by all means, get busy on the pool. But where would people park down there? Instead of putting a park in every time this city takes down some shameful structure near downtown, how about putting in a parking lot? If you have to walk a little bit to get to the pool, it will do some people a world of good (including me) Not everyone has to park right at the door. Perhaps a small electric tram from a parking area to the pool wouldn't be bad either. There are a multitude of things that could be done if that pool were to get reopened. I wish the city would do something about it.

Here's a thought...if the city building got moved, tear down the old one and use THAT site as a parking lot for the pool area instead of selling the land or using the property for anything else. Problem solved for parking for the pool.

The Bizness

I hate these blog posts, they offer nothing to help resolve a situation.

luvblues2

They offer discussion to keep the ball rolling, if nothing else.

PS. If you don't think those that run our local gov'ts around here don't read the SR, then you deserve to close your door and not read the stuff you hate. (no peeking)

The Bizness

They apparently don't read her blog posts cuz they don't ever react to them ;). They keep the ball rolling in the wrong direction btw.

Woody Hayes

My topic this week is why don't you run for office?

Truth or Fiction

Sharon,

I would like to say I agree with you but I can't. You are too predictable. Predictable in the sense that if it costs money, you are against it. It is unfortunate but most of the commercial revenue is generated in Perkins Township. I find it ironic that the Sandusky Mall is located in Perkins Township not to mention most other "vacationland" items. It has gotten so bad that the only thing we have in the City limits are banks, bars, and eating establishments. Even the car dealerships have moved out of town.

wiredmama222

If this study is as this person from the Main Street says, then the expense isn't that bad and perhaps the study is worth it. I would think it nice to have the facts about the study before just saying no. Thanks, Main Street, for the info. I was all set to say "no way" about doing another study for anything, but this is a bit more necessary than just because of a parking lot as what this piece indicates. Nice work.

I would like to see the city get more things downtown, including some shops with things people can use daily....ah, dreaming of the good old days when we had Penneys and Sears. Bring back the old departments stores....if only.

But anything they could do for downtown would be nice to have. I agree with truth or fiction. Until someone in "charge" gets smart and starts courting some businesses into Sandusky, everything worth while is in Perkins. I have been spouting this for a year now. Nice to hear someone else say it.

J. Hartman

From what I understand, this really isn't a study at all. It's a plan, a game plan, that would be put in place from many studies and research that have been done over the years in cities of similar size or with similar obstacles. As far as bringing business or new money back to the downtown area, I would look to Chicago. I don't know all the details or how it all works, but they recently raised the taxes on corporations out there.(will go down slightly in 2017) I would recommend putting something together and reach out to a few of the smaller corporations currently located there. I know no one is beating the doors down to up and move to Sandusky, but you explain how they would save $$$million$$$ over the next few years in taxes alone, someone will listen! I would also explain how they could be the big dog here as opposed to being the runt of the litter in Chicago. Explain how they could be part of a new beginning, something special, and be the cog that helps us become proud again to say "I live in Sandusky". I might have on rose colored glasses, but it's worth taking a chance and it's not as if none of us have ever heard the word no before. You never know, someone just may give it some honest consideration? Just another of my crazy ideas!! S.M.I.L.E.

wiredmama222

@J Hartman....Thanks for that info. You see, to me, there are no "crazy ideas", only great suggestions worth considering and this is one of them. You never know when you might hit paydirt. I really hate the continual "neigh sayers" who want to knock down every idea that comes up as absurd or has something negative to say. I would LOVE to talk to you further on this one. Sounds like something to really explore as a great idea. My address is in the phone book (k.jones): send me a letter about this, ok? I would welcome it. Thanks a million.

J. Hartman

@ Wiredrama222, I also suggested to fund the repairs and installation of the new field turf at Strobel, they look at the cell phone companies and allow them to build a tower there. Of course, that idea didn't make sense to anyone and the good old Cedar Point money was accepted because CP is the only option for some reason for everything. I lived in Canton for 5 years up to the fall of 2009. Google Glenn Oak high school and then tell me its a dumb idea. Not just a field, but an entire new high school was built with those funds. I will take you on the offer in the next couple of days. S.M.I.L.E.

J. Hartman

@ Wiredrama222, I also suggested to fund the repairs and installation of the new field turf at Strobel, they look at the cell phone companies and allow them to build a tower there. Of course, that idea didn't make sense to anyone and the good old Cedar Point money was accepted because CP is the only option for some reason for everything. I lived in Canton for 5 years up to the fall of 2009. Google Glenn Oak high school and then tell me its a dumb idea. Not just a field, but an entire new high school was built with those funds. I will take you on the offer in the next couple of days. S.M.I.L.E.

T. A. Schwanger

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Parking downtown has been and will continue to be a problem issue for years to come. From shop owners and employees parking all day in front of their stores taking up spaces of potential clients--to the thought of reinstalling parking meters which drove shoppers out of downtown with free parking at the Sandusky Mall.

Do we really need another study to tell us to add more floors to the county garage, pave and stripe the Jackson Street Parking Lot or limit parking downtown to two hours per space? Makes me wonder how the downtown managed parking when the Reiger, Keller Building, Porter House Hotel, etc. were thriving downtown.

I shop and dine downtown, but I'm exhausted the Battery Park TIF continues to be gobbled up by activities downtown from the Christmas Window Displays --to the 2013 Parking Study. The City has spent million in downtown over the years. It's time the downtown merchants "buy into" some of these activities beginning with the Parking Study.

reader

What's another 30 or 40 thousand for a parking study? It'll make us feel so much better about things.