In re: Bye bye parking lots?

Looking out my window at work to the East yields these amazingly stunning views of acres and acres of surface parking lots, right in the center of downtown. Time after time I have thought how this space could be put to such better use, the lots could be combined into two or three garages and a huge chunk of space could be brought back.

Apparently Jeff Edwards had the same thoughts, a local real estate mogul (the Quarry among other developments) who has purchased up all this land and has set to work with a plan to redevelop it into a residential urban neighborhood that I gotta say looks mighty interesting. Instead of the condos that are going up elsewhere downtown, he is set on building more typical housing, with personal garages and lower density housing (compared at least to vertical condo housing). The plan was revealed recently and they have since put up a large banner that wraps around the corner of N.4th and Gay St. (bottom picture shows the construction site for those first units) that shows what the first units on the corner will look like. They have also put up a new website Neighborhoodlaunch that has an interesting walking tour movie and a before and after rendering of the neighborhood. (Also see Dispatch)

Of course parking is bound to be an issue with all these lots being taken away eventually and city planners are supposedly picking up the ball and determining how best to address the problem. I also wonder how much downtown development Columbus can take, as right now there is massive development going on all over the Short North, Italian Village, Harrison West, Arena District and countless downtown projects, eventually I imagine there will be more housing then downtown living types, although hopefully I am proved wrong and all this building coincides with growth in jobs and population.

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One Response

  1. I think that parking is only a big problem in the Short North area as of today. There’s few surface lots, few garages, and few public parking spots. And we’re not going to have any sort of solution available in that area for another year when the Urban Oasis public garage goes in adding a whopping 250 spots. We needed an extra 250 spots in the Short North 3 years ago. Who knows what we’ll need next year when we finally get these.

    As for downtown, I agree with a lot of people who are saying that parking isn’t a huge problem today. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared for change. The new Edwards project is going to take up 9 city blocks, almost all of which are currently parking lots. According to that Dispatch article I posted earlier, 1,500 parking spots are going away downtown in the next year and a half. These parking garages being planned aren’t going to help us with parking, they’re going to give us 1,400 spots back, barely even maintaining the status quo.

    If we don’t do SOMETHING ahead of time, we’re likely to have a similar parking problem with what the Short North is facing today. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d rather fix a problem ahead of time with proper planning instead of waiting until the problem turns into an emergency before we even start to think about doing something about it.

    I really see this as a great display of the whole “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” public outcry problem the city faces. People will scream at the city for allowing the parking problem in the Short North to get so bad and not doing anything about it until now, and then turn around and scream at the city for trying to build parking garages downtown ahead of the curve when a lot of parking spaces are in the process of disappearing.

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