Open Letter To The City Council re: Downtown Parking Plazas
Original post made by Jim Lewis, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Sep 17, 2008
Could someone tell me why the Downtown Parking Plazas are in such disrepair for such a long period of time?
The asphalt has many pot holes, cracks, low spots, alligatoring, loose material, faded striping and other obvious areas of disrepair and deferred maintenance. While many city streets are getting preferential treatment with fresh curb, gutter and asphalt, the Downtown Parking Plazas badly need attention and appear to be long overdue.
What makes no sense what-so-ever, is each parking spot generates INCOME. The income goes to merchants by way of sales, the income goes to the City by way of sales tax, the income also goes to the city by way of parking permits, etc. The parking plazas is a "golden goose". Yet, they seem to get little attention.
I'm not suggesting they come first; however, they shouldn't come last either.
I understand that one (1) parking plaza is scheduled to get paved in the near future. The "operative" word here is "one". There is something like a total of eight parking plazas. If one (1) of them is paved every other year or so, it will seem like a lifetime before they are all done. Is there any way to speed up the process?
I don't understand why the merchants don't speak up loud and clear about this. Maybe they do and it simply is not common knowledge.
Do you hear from the Chamber of Commerce about this? I understand they were given a nice presentation six months or so ago about a proposed project and were asked their opinion about various ways to lay out the parking, that is, 90 degree angles, 45 degree angles, 30 degree angles, etc. That is a nice courtesy to extend; however, it would be helpful to have regular updates, similar to the updates provided by the Community Development Department on various major projects being considered around town.
With approx. two months left before the election, perhaps it can become a campaign issue. Where do the candidates stand on this issue?
One need not look very far to see the condition of our neighboring city's Parking Plazas. I might suggest that sometime you take a look at them in the City of Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos to the south and Redwood City, San Carlos, Belmont and San Mateo to the north. Maybe staff can do this and share the results with you.
It seems counter-productive for merchants to fix up their stores, such as the Left Bank on the south side and several others on the north side of Santa Cruz Avenue and have the asphalt parking areas in disrepair. To encourage the best from our merchants and our citizens, having parking plazas looking good may be an important element and perhaps one of the keys to attracting and retaining merchants and shoppers.
With the national and local economies being what they are, I would think trying to be as competitive, attractive, desirable and enticing as possible would be important. Afterall, isn't a community value taking pride in our city.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you or a member of staff on the status of our Downtown Parking Plazas.