[Vision2020] Parking

Nils Peterson nils_peterson at wsu.edu
Tue Sep 12 12:44:50 PDT 2006

Pat, I attempted a comment on this parking problem topic a couple months
ago, also as a letter to the editor, which was apparently sufficiently
inarticulate that it didn't generate any discussion. Thanks for attempting
to re-start the conversation.

The summary of my point was that no constituency has decided to take on
solving this problem. There are some willing to say there is a problem, but
there seem to be none taking the proactive position of proposing a solution
and building a constituency to lobby for adopting the solution. Similarly,
no one has built a coalition big enough (loud enough) to persuade the
council it needs to lead. One hypothesis to draw from this non-action is
that the problem isn't serious for enough people.

Another conversation I've tried to start is that downtown parking is a
"tragedy of the commons" situation. All activities downtown benefit from the
existence of the parking and all need to have a stake in its management or
expansion. An example of this is the problem the COOP perceives it has (as
demonstrated by its newsletter and parking lot signage) that people use its
parking and then go to other destinations. The COOP might suspect that, were
it to add another parking space, that space would not be to its sole
benefit, but would be shared by other downtown users.

So, I think the Council's recent action of requiring one member of the
commons to expand the resources within the commons is problematic. The
extenuating circumstance that the Council might argue is the CUP situation,
that the NSA use is somehow not part of the normal downtown.

We are going to see another version of this discussion later this month
(18th?) when the Council hears a rezone request for the two white grain
elevators at the south end of downtown. The request is to change from
industrial to central business district. That is, to join to the parking
commons, and, by definition of the CBD zone, not be required to create
on-site parking.

My reaction to this is that expansion of the CBD should be decided on the
merits of having more CBD -- and recognizing that more parcels in the
district makes a larger pool of players in the coalition to fix the parking

The counter argument will say that parking is a problem and adding more
users to the community will further overtax the commons. In fact, I have
looked along south main and the parking beside one of the elevators
(opposite Gritman) is used, and occasionally at least, full. The elevator is
not generating those cars (its shut), so its share of the parking commons is
being used by other businesses. That is, the elevator's restraint is to the
benefit of others.

What would I like to see?
An effort to advance a positive solution and to build a coalition around
that solution.

On 9/12/06 11:07 AM, "vision2020-request at moscow.com"
<vision2020-request at moscow.com> wrote:

> Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 10:14:54 -0700
> From: "Pat Kraut" <pkraut at moscow.com>
> Subject: [Vision2020] Parking
> To: "vision2020" <vision2020 at moscow.com>
> Message-ID: <001501c6d68f$0172b580$65acfea9 at d5b8c8>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> I wanted to submit this letter to the paper but it is too long so I have
> edited it but will post the whole thing on this site for your enjoyment.
> Editor:
> I disagree that the city council did a good thing in postponing the decision
> about the possible parking problem downtown.
> The council was shown a photo of the Jackson Street lot and Mr. Lambert said
> there were empty spots available a fact that seemed to get lost somewhere as
> the evening went on. No one asked just how many spaces are in the lot and if
> NSA has 200 or 150 students and they all want to park will it fill that lot?
> Am I to assume that the council already knows the answer to the question?
> Does anyone on the council know the answer to that question? How many spots
> on main or any other street in the area are there and who fills them? Are
> people eating? Visiting the doctor?  How long do they stay at the gym? Do
> other businesses downtown ask their employees their parking habits? Shouldn'
> t we actually do some sort of survey and find out if there really is a
> problem?
>  The council was informed that there are problems with zones putting a
> parking lot in any other area of town except the central business zone but
> is making NSA find more spots anyway. It would be fair to ask NSA to find 42
> more spots in town if anyone could be sure that there actually is a parking
> problem. I would be more convinced that there is a problem with some people
> finding what they believe is convenient parking. Maybe what we need is more
> handicapped parking for those who have trouble walking any distance and an
> exercise program for the others. How long has it been since the city
> actually did any type of questioning of those parking downtown because other
> businesses say there is a problem does not make is truth. I remember the
> restaurant in the hotel and I can assure it wasn't parking that made my
> friends and I stop eating there. It was one very bad meal with lousy
> service. Moscow is a small town and the word gets out quickly. Most of my
> friends and I have lived in Moscow a long time and know how to find parking
> to any location so I do not believe it was parking that closed that
> restaurant.
> Once again a city council has simply left the real decision for another year
> and another council.
> Pat Kraut

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