Is Traverse City’s parking priorities at a turning point?
Monday Rant continued…
My Monday rant about the new Old Town parking deck is still fresh thanks to continued discussion about the subject online and on the street. I’m still not ready to celebrate it’s lovely design, permeable pavers, solar paneled roof, high-efficiency lighting and it’s 5 bike racks. Even if it is to be the first parking deck to be “LEED” certified; that is to be expected. As Mayor Chris Bzdok pointed out at Monday’s grand opening, we could have built a C+ structure, but we built an A+ one. Great. Now let’s get on to some serious work.
Less Vision, More Plan
Contrary to what some might think, I actually do attempt to research portions of my rants. I’ve talked to the DDA** about these issues and I’m trying hard to understand their position. It’s not like they are antithesis to active transportation like walking, biking, or opposed to a better busing system. In fact, they want to support them. They share the vision. They just never really get to it or allocate time and energy in developing it. No one at the DDA or amongst city staff is taking a strong lead in providing an equal opportunity transportation network. It’s not enough to always have active transportation as an after-thought. Once you commit to the idea that providing for non-automobile traffic is a low-priority, that it is something to be dealt with incrementally, then it will likely remain in that inferior position.
It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “one more deck, and then we can start addressing those issues.” There is always another ‘deck’, even if it’s not another deck.
The serious people in Traverse City need to start taking improved walking, biking and busing facilities seriously, today. No more snickering every-time someone mentions the need for bike lanes, sidewalks and bike racks. These facilities can’t be kicked to the curb as afterthoughts for the next 20 years and expect someone like myself, who is trying to lessen my impact on the city and neighborhoods by walking, biking and busing as a first choice, not to be a little offended that they celebrate spending what will be $25 million +/- in 12 years to park cars.
They set a goal to build parking decks and stopped short of developing a comprehensive plan that someone like myself could see clearly in the built infrastructure that says, “ah, this is how it fits into the the overall scheme.”
When is Bryan Crough, or whomever is guiding the purse strings, going to stand up and say something like:
“Now is the time. I don’t know how we do it, but do it we will. By 2015 we will increase mode share to downtown by 20% and by 2030 it will be 30/30/30 *. Our city is too special to continue to let cars dictate our planning.”
* 30/30/30 in 2030 = 30% walk/bike, 30% transit/car-pool, 30% SOV (single occupant vehicle), give or take a few percentage points.