|Beautify the Parkings: September 19, 1910|
|from The City, via FB|
Construction of the Police Station will reconfigure traffic and add bike lanes, which will eliminate 20 on-street parking spaces on Liberty Street. The current plan will replace the parking spaces that will be lost on Liberty Street with spaces on Division Street, and also add about ten new spaces to meet increased parking demand in the area.There's a lot going on here.
Adding these spaces to replace lost parking and meet new demand requires a choice between maintaining existing tree canopy, or meeting parking needs. Without diminishing the value of existing tree canopy, street trees are a community asset that can be replanted and which will regrow over time. Parking spaces are a different form of community asset, and they cannot be replaced in the same way that trees can. Eliminating parking spaces will not eliminate the current and increasing need for them. While we need to remove several mature street trees to make room for the parking improvements, there will be an overall net gain of trees in the neighborhood when the project is complete.
The plan views that accompany the request to remove trees don't show any bike lanes, although they focus more on Division than on Liberty.
Here's the area bike map with the Police Station site in yellow. Useful bike lanes are in blue, low-traffic streets in green, and ascending degrees of caution and discomfort are in yellow, orange, and red.
|Even with a short segment of bike lane, Liberty won't connect|
More useful might be a new bike lane on Division, even though that's just one block north of Union. At least that would connect with the bike lanes on the one-way couplet of High and Church. But that's not in the plan.
|But no new bike lane on Division|
More importantly, our mania for free parking is a problem.
|The vast surface area with subsidized car parking:|
Downtown Surface Parking Lots in Red
Parking Garages in Solid Brick Red
On-street parking stalls not included
(click to enlarge)
The solution here is not to cut down trees, but to install meters. Our refusal to do so has a cascading effect and shadows many other policy and planning decisions. The cost to mature street trees here is one example.
|We should lead with parking reform|
By contrast, the time to level a lot with a building in order to create a surface parking lot is measured in months.
|Making old Safeway at 245 Court into bare lot didn't take long|
Finally, on balance, if we are committed to the car parking, the on-street parking offers a more walkable environment than a small off-street lot. You might recall an earlier concept that had a small parking lot on Division and Liberty.
|The concept plan in January 2018|
This is much less walkable than the plaza
|From Liberty and Division - now an open plaza|