Monday, January 7, 2008

Parking Spot Seekers To Return To Happy Hunting Ground

As per usual, the city is preparing to accommodate the extra demand for parking during the special session by availing the Navy Stadium lot:
The Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session begins January 9, 2008
and runs through April 7th.

Temporary employees of the General
Assembly and individuals attending hearings or visiting their representative are
encouraged to park at the Navy-Marine Corps stadium and take Annapolis Transit's
free State Shuttle.

The State Shuttle makes a constant loop between
the stadium and the legislative buildings. During peak hours, the shuttle leaves
the stadium every five minutes and every fifteen during other
times.

The State Shuttle operates 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through
Fridays. During Legislative Session, shuttle hours are extended until 10:30 p.m.
on Mondays.

A second shuttle, which runs from the stadium, is
Annapolis Transit's Navy Blue Shuttle. Navy Blue leaves every half hour and goes
downtown Historic Annapolis and Inner West Street. If looking for the State
Shuttle, specifically, look for signage on the bus or confirm with the driver
which route you're boarding.

Visit www.annapolis.gov/transport and
click on Annapolis Transit Shuttle Map & Free Fare Zone on the Navigational
bar, to see the State Shuttle map.

There are 2 schools of thought on this.

The "yes" school.

We have to face the reality that we are a capital city, and a tourist city. People want to come here for many reasons, and they have to park somewhere. The stadium makes sense, because the space is already there and it keeps cars out of downtown. Plus, if they are parked in the stadium, they are not parked in my front yard.

The "no" school.*

(*I have heard people say that using the stadium in this manner is illegal, but I don't know why this is the case, so it just gets an asterisk.)

The city always dumps all of its parking needs on Ward 2. What about shuttling people from the mall, or from school parking lots? Our quality of life is an afterthought to the city--they only care about their precious downtown.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

From his comments during the campaign, I would say Fred Paone is of the "yes" school. So, don't expect much change.

Brian Gill said...

You are probably right. When pressed on the question, he did say that we should be exploring more options than using the stadium exclusively. But as a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Assn (who uses the lot), he even admitted he would be reluctant to pursue the matter fervently.

It is clear that this is not one of his priorities, and it probably shouldn't be given the other things the city should be worrying about.

PAUL FOER said...

Brian: Do we want a downtown for cars? Do we want a downtown for people? If we believe that urban cores are for everyone, and that density and closeness of people and services is a social benefit (i.e. the reason why cities exist), than we have to find ways to move people in and out. In some places, though I find it distasteful, cars work fairly well because of layout and roads and parking etc. In Annapolis, cars don't work well, so we are left with finding places for people to park their cars and ways for them to get in and out without the car.
You suggest the Westfield Shoppingtown, but do you really think a private landowner will go for that when it will take up spaces their tenants need? And it would add so much distance and time to the ride. As for schools, do you want hordes of people parking at your child's school? Do you think the schools will allow it? I don't think there is a viable alternative to the stadium and I fail to see how cars coming in and out of a huge lot is so much worse for Ward Two residents than having the lot empty all day. The buses traverse the lot and mainly Rowe Blvd, so how does this adversely affect Ward Two?
Hey-it's life in the big city. If I had my way, we'd ban cars downtown, so maybe angry Ward Two residents can just manage to put up with this situation which benefits all residents--and allows them to walk a few blocks and take a free and frequent bus--or would they rather drive?
Finally, if parking there is indeed illegal, the folks who don't like it should use the resources available to them to make their point in the building by the stadium. It's called a courthouse.

Brian Gill said...

Pual,

I don't really understand what in my post prompted you to get so upset. You'll notice that I addressed the idea that having people park in the stadium is good, as well as the idea that it's bad.

If we're only talking parking, and not money, the city could pay Westfield to use their lots. It is only another 2-3 miles and 5 minutes from there--a straight shot down Bestgate.

As for schools, peak demand for parking spaces almost never occurs when school is in session. For example: parents weekend (on a weekend), graduation (weekend), tourism (weekend, boat shows ( mostly weekends). I don't see the problem. The schools don't see the problem either--Annapolis Elementary's lot is used regularly, and Eastport Elementary's main fundraiser is renting out their grass for $20 per car on boat show weekends.

Your categoric dismissal that these ideas would never work is misplaced.

PAUL FOER said...

Brian I was neither upset nor did I categorically dismiss anything. I've just given the issues serious consideration during nearly eight years as the city's transportation marketing specialist and know a bit about what works and who--and why not.It is more difficult than some may be aware to make use of those alternatives which some suggest, but someone is mistaken about peak times. Peak parking times are weekdays--when schools are in session. The boat shows are but two weekends and the only reason that even works at schools is because of PTSA volunteers encouraged by the $20 per car fee.
Parking regularly at schools would adversely affect the neighbors and the schools. The stadium works best. Adding 2-3 miles and five minutes is a bigger deal than some might imagine. It would seriously reduce frequency of service, raise costs and cause a drop in customers.
As for the use of the lot for which it is intended--namely the handful of Saturdays a year when Navy plays on the gridiron, the stadium lot does what it does best.
People who dispute the legality of the lot's use should take legal action.