Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Paul's love affair with Parking

I am not trying to pick on St. Paul, I truly think it is a great city and has so much to offer its residents, businesses, and those that decide to come over from that other city to visit. But I do have to admit I have had it with the current focus and obsession about Parking.

This has been very evident with all the community meetings about the Central Corridor LRT line that will connect downtown St. Paul with downtown Minneapolis. Business owners have convinced themselves that without on-street parking and off-street parking nobody is ever going to enter their businesses again after light rail comes roaring down University Avenue.

Well, I am here to tell, there is something else: people.

The Twin Cities really needs to stop obsessing about where they are going to keep their cars. I realize that driving is a reality for most, but we are caught right now in this vicious circle of cars = traffic = good business. Wrong, critical masses of people, who can actually stroll on well design streetscapes who can arrive by numerous modes of transit = good business. People = business.

St. Paul is going to be in for a pretty serious shock when they realize tens of thousands of people are going to be traveling down University Avenue by LRT, not car. For those who own a business, that means you should start preparing for these new customers. Yes, construction is a reality and will hurt businesses severely, but the end result has the potential to increase sales beyond current levels, which currently only automobile traffic as your patrons.

Check out this article to see what I am talking about.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Right on. To be fair, the Twin Cities hasn't provided a cogent model of this for a long time, but businesses should recognize that many other cities have made this transition back to transit-fueled business.