Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Night Meetings

There's an important meeting tonight at City Hall -- yes, I know that most Middletown Eye readers are focused on the 7 pm Common Council meeting (which has the Army Base on the agenda) - and by all means, don't miss it! But there's also a meeting-before-the-meeting, at 6 pm, that will present the conclusions of the Parking Study that has been in process for the past 18 months or so.

In a series of 25 community meetings, the Parking Study Sub-Committee (I'm on that) came up with a plan to improve the long and short-term parking issues of downtown. Also in the mix were some attempts to address transit issues in town, particularly making Middletown more bike-friendly and the potential of using federal funds to put a trolley-on-tracks on Main Street.

If you are concerned about the health of our downtown and the transit issues that face our city, please join us in the Council Chambers.

2 comments:

fishmuscle said...

Downtown parking is a difficult and important issue that I think everybody in Middletown (not just the merchants) need to pay close attention to. Last week I was in Irreplaceable Artifacts on Main Street, and discussed the parking situation with Erin, who is a very helpful employee behind the counter. She bemoaned the fact that there wasn't even any parking for her, as an employee! Sometimes she has to park a long distance from the entrance to the store. She has also seen potential customer get a parking ticket right in front of the store, and surmises that this experience permanently turns away shoppers from Main Street.
My own feeling is quite the opposite. I WANT to see merchants leave the nearby parking spaces for customers of their and other stores. And I WANT to see parking rules and meters strictly enforced. Those two actions would increase the chances that customers coming downtown could quickly find an available space for their shopping.
Erin had another point about parking, which I agree with wholeheartedly. Many of Irreplaceable Artifacts' customers come from out of town, and are not sure where parking lots are and what the policies are in our city. Middletown needs to have much better signage to direct people to the lot behind Main Street, to the parking deck near the court house, and to the garage in the big building above Klekolos. Immediately upon entering Middletown off of Route 9, there should be clear and obvious information about how to park downtown.

Where can we get a copy of the downtown parking study?

Jen Alexander said...

Dear Fishmuscle,

Yes, yes and yes! The success or failure of downtown affects all of us (got your tax bill?), merchants shouldn't park in front of their stores, and there should clear signage that helps shoppers find a space for their car.

The recommendations can be viewed at http://www.middletownplanning.com/documents/parkingrec2008.pdf. If you'd like to put yourself through reading the various reports and meeting minutes that came before that, they are at: http://www.middletownplanning.com/Specialprojects/downtownparkingstudy.html.

To me, the most critical recommendation is the formation of a seperate parking department, which would require that parking revenues be used only for parking management, and would take the highly sensitive decisions about "who parks where" out of political hands.

You would have to be a complete idealist to believe that we can fix all of our parking problems just by adopting this parking study -- it is the product of compromise and has its fair share of flaws. But I do believe it is the right step at this time and I hope it passes!

-Jen Alexander