For any of you well versed in the concerns of downtown merchants, parking availability often looms large. It is rare that we do a downtown analysis where merchants don’t complain about parking. Over the years, many downtown communities have turned to structured parking as a solution to these real or perceived parking woes. Sometimes it has worked. Many times, it hasn’t. We are here to say please think twice before deploying this solution because structures are expensive, difficult to maintain adequately, and are not the panacea that merchants and others think they might be.
|The graffiti in this lot does not make users comfortable in this environment.|
|Not all landscaping is made equally. This passage from Main Street to a rear structured parking lot has
large bushes that might raise concerns – especially from a woman walking alone at night.
|A passage to rear surface parking that is a bit more welcoming. There is lighting, the shrubs have been trimmed and do not allow from lurking, and the benches mean that on any given day people might be sitting offering “eyes on the street”/|
|The two walk block from the Parking Structure to the main Plaza offers pedestrians very little engagement.|
Maintenance and Operations matters
|Attractive signage announces the walkways to the downtown
surface parking areas behind the Main Street in South Orange, NJ