Parking lots: Are we the only ones who are pleased? 2011.10.26

Written by David Green.

Now that was a rarity: We actually heard  someone say good things about Morenci’s parking lot project this week. We don’t hear much of that. Generally it’s nothing but complaints.

• It’s only for Chevy Volts. I could never park my pickup truck there.

• All those concrete planter areas—you need a mouse to run through the maze.

• You could have resurfaced it cheaper without the grant that requires green space.

• Why do you need a sidewalk in back of a business?

• I can’t even figure out how to use it.

We explained to the speaker of that last remark how it works. You turn in off the street here, you drive into a parking spot, when you’re ready to leave, you back up and drive back onto the road. Quite simple, really.

We’re still supporters of the parking lot project and we’re pleased that the city was able to win such a large grant for the work. We think it looks good and we know it’s going to look even better when the “green areas” actually have some color in them.

It’s easy to forget just how rough the old parking surface was a few weeks ago. It’s true that it could have been repaved, but based on past work, it soon would have started cracking again. It also would have been a very costly approach with only a limited benefit.

This project is so much more than creating smooth parking areas. Remember how narrow Baker Street used to be? Remember the drive down to the recycling center?

Remember the condition of the house that stood on LaGrange and Orchard, and the narrow street in that area?

Remember the condition of the former Dunbar Auction building, and the narrow alleyway alongside the hardware store that led to limited parking behind the business district?

Do people really think the new parking layout is a mess? Do they really favor an open expanse of asphalt rather than the defined parking areas we now have? Do they actually think solid parking is more attractive than an area broken up by trees and shrubs? Or is it just change that they don’t like?

Since we’re hearing almost nothing but complaints, we wonder if there’s a silent majority out there that really does appreciate the city’s effort. We hope we’re not alone in thinking that a major improvement to the downtown is nearing completion. We hope we’re not the only ones who think Morenci was very fortunate to be chosen for the grant.

There must be leaders from other communities who will look at the work and say, “Very impressive, I wish we would have thought of that.”

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