With the departure of Community Resource Bank from its downtown location, there’s now an empty parking lot in the heart of downtown—at least until the owner of the building, First National Bank of Northfield (across the street), leases the building.
Last week’s City Council work session discussion of the Streetscape Taskforce Recommendations (P. 15 of the packet) had this item on the list:
Purchase of property to address perceived needs of Downtown Parking issues and potentially assist with increased parking need by future Library project.
The NDDC provides a Guide to Parking in Downtown Northfield. Ross has blogged about parking issues for years (example, here). There have been several studies of downtown parking (eg. the Walker Study, the Stolley Report, others? links?).
Here are some low-hanging fruit questions of an uninformed blogger:
- How often are the diagonal and parallel parking spots on Division completely full?
- Do downtown business owners and their employees too often park in these spots or is that a myth?
- How rigorously do the police enforce downtown parking ordinances?
- What do we know that has worked and not worked in other downtowns of our size/type?
Regardless of the strange wording (“perceived needs of Downtown Parking issues” – do issues have needs?) and regardless of what happens with the Library expansion, downtown parking is an issue that should be fun to argue about.
In the meantime, the now-empty Community Resource Bank parking lot is a perfect spot for a temporary skateboard plaza!