Press Editorial: Parking a problem?There is nothing that says a person has to park directly in front of a business if they are a customer.
There is nothing that says a person has to park directly in front of a business if they are a customer.
And there is also nothing written that says an employee must park within a block of the business they work at.
We applaud the city for taking downtown Dickinson parking concerns seriously. While it is a good time to start looking into a solution, there is no need to rush — it’s not that bad.
We’ve been keeping tabs on the downtown parking “problem” over the past few weeks since this came to light. And not one time in more than two weeks did we go downtown and a spot could not be found. Maybe we are just lucky, but this includes 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on weekdays, noon on weekdays, 5 and 7 p.m. Friday nights, 11:30 a.m. Saturday and many, many various times.
On a few occasions it was pretty tight downtown, but by driving a block or maybe a block and a half, there was always at least one spot.
The lot next to the old depot always had at least one space available and if there wasn’t a spot on Villard, right around the corner there was always one or two, or three or four.
After three public hearings involving several downtown business owners concerned with this apparent lack of parking, Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel presented a two-phase recommendation during a June 8 meeting that if approved, could begin this summer.
The first phase would provide additional parking spaces by surfacing, signing and lighting the lot west of the former train depot on Villard Street.
Included in the first phase would also be marked parking spots from one block west of Sims Street and one block north of the Villard and Sims streets intersection.
Also included in the first phase would be 90-minute parking, enforced from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This would include hiring nonlicensed police staff to enforce the time limits.
Downtown parking assessments would be used to cover associated costs. It was suggested the assessment be raised to $25,000 from the present $20,000.
Phase two would involve updates to a downtown park, including removal of planting areas to provide additional space for benches. Agreed, the downtown needs its green space and this could be a fantastic place for people to congregate.
There is a lovely fountain, but we suggest getting that flowing again. Maybe add a sign that gives a history of the area with a downtown walking tour pamphlet visitors can take on their treks.
Accolades to the city for looking into what some may consider an issue, but there are bigger issues.
To those with parking concerns, take a look around. Walking a few blocks can’t hurt and foot traffic is more likely to stop at stores they hadn’t spotted while driving by.
Picture customers sipping coffee at outdoor tables, shoppers walking by and taking a break to view the fountain and bustling downtown businesses.
— The Press Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss issues
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