Sunday, February 14, 2010

Park It

In addition to hearing recommendations about South Dallas (see story immediately below), the Economic Development Committee will also hear recommendations about parking in the central business district. (The person who guesses closest to the number of times Dwayne Carraway mentions free parking at meters downtown during this briefing wins an autographed picture of the mayor pro tem.)

I have always been a fan of public transit and favor any means possible to restrict downtown parking, not enhance it. But this briefing, especially the part of it with the pictures, has some interesting ideas stolen from cities where English is obviously not the primary language. The concept is to eliminate all those flat parking lots around town and replace them with parking garages, presumably with retail included at street level, along with visual displays directing motorists to the garages and informing drivers how many spaces are available in said garages.

That could work, especially if these garages are constructed so that they contain, say, three subsurface levels, the ground floor retail and four levels above that and they have exteriors that allow them to co-exist esthetically with the buildings around them. Now that makes for a sophisticated city.

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