Left In Lowell

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February 5, 2014

Snow Day BotW Winner

by at 12:51 pm.

I can’t believe it, but I have to deem “joe from lowell” the winner again this week! Joe, if you want to combine this win with the previous one to get a cooler prize, let me know, of you could just start an army of amigurumi if you want!

I’ve gotta go shovel out the backyard for the dogs, but use this as an open thread if you like. Is it me, or are we seeing actual civility (though not consistency) returning to Council meetings?

13 Responses to “Snow Day BotW Winner”

  1. Tim Little Says:

    Joe’s got the killer methodology, apparently.

  2. Brian Says:

    I’m very concerned that c. Belanger’s motion regarding the parking ordinance will be counterproductive for business at Majors Pub and The Club. Free on-street parking is NOT a good idea. Metered parking encourages turnover so new customers/members can get dinner or go to the gym.

    Free on-street parking encourages people to keep their cars there all day/night or all weekend.
    C. Belanger and Karen Bell probably DO hear some complaints about tickets or there being “no spots” on the street. But they probably never hear about the 100′s or 1000′s of successful parking instances at meters. What’s $2.00 when you’re spending $75.00 on dinner and drinks?

    It’s a classic case of the vocal minority. Pretty soon you think the meters are the problem when they’re not. If Karen Bell has members that are afraid to park in the garage that’s a perception problem not a meter problem. In fact I would argue that increasing free parking in front of the club would hurt her business. Over night visitors to Appleton Mills or Loft 27 would snatch up those spots AND the city would lose parking revenue.

    As B. Lynch mentioned the metered parking revenue is important to fund the upkeep of the garages. I think we,the city, have it backwards on this one. What C. Belanger and K. Bell SHOULD advocate for is to increase metered parking times to 8pm on weekdays and all day Saturday but make the first 60-90 minutes FREE in the garages. That’s right FREE!!!

    Think about it. People go out to dinner and go to the gym typically from 4-8pm on weekdays. We don’t ticket during those times and everyone knows it, so when the reverse commuters come home from work they park on the street and go straight to their mill loft or condo. This is bad for the businesses downtown!
    Will the increase in revenue collected from meter fees from 4-8pm and Saturdays make up for the loss in revenue by making parking free in garages for the first 60-90 minutes? I don’t know. As long as we can pay the debt service for the garages and keep the garages safe and clean this can be a win-win-win for business owners, customers, and the city.

    What WILL happen is businesses will be busier and more profitable because more spots will available on the street for quick visits AND more customers will utilize the garages knowing the first 60-90 minutes are free.

    Even if parking revenue goes down at first because of free garage parking our commercial tax revenue should increase over time because more businesses will be able to survive and thrive downtown.
    I highly suggest anyone interested in this to view this short youtube video about Old Pasadena Ca and how after implementing these parking changes the city has been transformed.

  3. Brian Says:

    I meant to put this youbube link in my previous comment. Sorry.


  4. Lola Says:

    What bothered me about the parking issue was that Corey Belanger was so obviously a business owner sitting in a councilor’s chair, rather than a councilor considering the needs of the whole city, including the particular concerns of business owners.

  5. Gail Says:

    @ Brian, during the Hamilton Canal District vision session, pre-fancy meters, I learned that residents with monthly garage passes often park in the Park Service lot or on the street because those spaces are more convenient. One thriving small city, with a university, that I was parking on the street was more expensive than the garages, to encourage it to be used short time (e.g., running in to pick up an order). The first hour of parking in the garages was free. The city should be encouraging drivers to get into a garage and out of their car rather than exhibiting vulture like behavior and circling looking for a parking space. The circling behavior adds to traffic problems and often makes streets less pedestrian friendly. There is technology that can be used to show garage users that space is available, say on the 3rd floor to encourage vehicles to drive straight there. If the garages have more use “after hours” there would be more foot traffic and people would probably feel safer because there are more people out and about. $2.00 on a $75 meal is one thing, but if you are meeting for coffee, a drink, or someone recommended looking for that item at Wells Emporium. If you don’t know if you are going to buy something are you going to pay to browse?

  6. Lynne Says:

    Some very good points, RE turnover and businesses. This is what comes of transactional, not policy-based, politics. :(

  7. Realistic Joe Says:

    I’m curious what you guys and gals think about changing the downtown streets from one way to two way. I’m sure it looked good on the planning room floor but our reality could look a lot different. Merrimack st has enough room for one lane on each side and parking. Imagine someone trying to back into a spot. That will stop traffic in that lane instantly. You can’t go around without crossing into into oncoming traffic. And this is assuming that the person behind you actually leaves you enough space to back in. It will especially deter the elderly from shopping downtown. Either attempt to back in or walk a distance from one of the garages. I can see many scenarios that make this a terrible idea. This is just one.

  8. Brian Says:

    @ Gail. Great point about browsing. How often do you think people go downtown to browse? Never, nada, zilch! People who shop downtown either know what they want, are down there for something else or have Lowell pride.

    How much does it cost to park at the Pheasant Lane Mall or Westford’s Cornerstone Square? Nothing, nada, zilch! That is why people shop and browse there.

    Cities and towns across the US are spending millions/billions to recreate what we already have in Lowell-mixed use, dense, pedestrian and bike friendly communities. We already have this and it’s AUTHENTIC!!!

    People love Newburyport and Portsmouth because they’re authentic too. People shop at the mall but they “spend the day” in Portsmouth. We can’t compete with the malls or Newburyport unless we have a hook. Free parking in the garages for the first 60-90 minutes IS that hook. We must also appropriately charge for on-street parking at meters up until 8 or 9pm to encourage turnover.

    Imagine if Karen Bell could advertise about free parking across from her gym. I’d bet Humanity would have a ton more browsers.

  9. Brian Says:

    @ Realistic Joe. That’s a perfect example of why free parking in garages for the first 60-90 minutes makes so much sense. People who don’t like to parallel park would ALWAYS choose to park in the garages and wouldn’t circle around Merrimack, Middle, Market to find a spot on the street.

    If someone is too old to walk from one of the garages downtown to shop or go out to eat then they’re probably just too old.

  10. joe from Lowell Says:

    I like Monty.

    How many of these do I have to win for you to knit me a Cthulhu?

  11. Lynne Says:

    Why joe, you need a buddy to watch Council meetings with?? :D I’ll take a look at the patterns, see what they look like, and get back to ya!

  12. Lynne Says:

    Joe: How about a tiny Cthulhu: http://cthulhucrochet.blogspot.com/2008/05/tiny-cthulhu-free-pattern.html

    I think I can manage that in combining two “level one” wins! :)

  13. Lynne Says:

    Oh, and with or without a shirt? ;)

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