Today's Capital got me shaking my head, tsk, tsking and wondering what the hell is so wrong with government half of the time--or is it just Annapolis? The first piece is an editorial about the failure of the special tax increases from the special session to do much of anything special. Okay, that's not directly about Annapolis--but it is about the state government that meets in Annapolis. And there is the piece about the failure of the Knighton Garage to really do what it was built to do--provide parking. It just has not worked. CP watched that whole venture unfold, raising the clarion call that downtown does not and has not ever had a parking problem. Even the mayor's former "parking coordinator said "...now the discussion is we have too much parking".
CP has long maintained that the issue is not parking. What we have is a transportation and mobility challenge. Downtown parking garages really serve little utility. They suck up public dollars, take otherwise productive land out of real use and they don't solve or address problems of mobility or congestion--they just take us away from our largest personal investment where they let our second-largest investments sit...and sit.... So--does it come as a surprise to CP that the garage is not doing what it is supposed to do?
The parking management contract is up next year and this is what The Capital says: "TownePark, a local company that currently manages the West Garrett garage, said it would be interested in managing city garages if the city were to open up a formal bid process. If the city were to bring in (a parking company) that was a little more innovative and creative, they could capture some revenue at that garage," said TownePark marketing director Suzanne Reese. Calls to the Philadelphia based Park America Inc., which manages all city garages and parking lots, were not returned."
Ooooohhh. Did anyone notice that Park America is a sponsor of the mayor's "hooray for me" fundraising party? Maybe Park America needs to donate more money..to somebody? Oh, excuse me, Park America is also a sponsor of the mayor's "hooray for me" party.
And it gets worse. The Capital reports that "Ms. Moyer said she has tentatively looked at consolidating parking operations into one department in the city." I can see it now. A new department and a new bureaucracy with the job going to...drum roll please....an old friend of the mayor herself. Any way you cut it, more parking causes more problems than it resolves.
HERE IS AN IDEA.....END PARKING AT CITY DOCK AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING USEFUL AND ATTRACTIVE THEREBY ENDING THE GRIDLOCK DOWNTOWN. TAKE THE EXCESS TO THE KNIGHTON GARAGE. BEEF UP OUR TRANSIT SYSTEM.
Part Two... coming soon in which CP looks at the anniversary of the failed Chesapeake Bay Program (and I attended the original conference in 1983), and downtown possibly collaborating with Westfield Shoppingtown (aka the mall) and so-called Towne Center, which is neither. It's funny how they love the word "town" or "towne"....when they destroy real towns.