Please Support Davis Ace, Property Rights and the Freedom to Pursue Economic Vitality

Current Project Site

By Jason Taormino

It feels like an affront to common sense that anyone would try to stop Davis Ace from parking cars on their own property.  They have a disused area where their old lumber mill stands and they want to tear this down so that customers and delivery trucks have a place to park.  The problem is that someone has asked the City Council to deny their request, and as such I feel compelled to make our community aware of this situation.  I am asking you to support Davis Ace and send an email to our City Council or come to the upcoming Council meeting on Tuesday, June 20th and express your support for this Davis institution.

This issue has already gone before the Planning Commission which granted Davis Ace the right to use their land as desired.  However, that decision has been appealed, by one person, at a cost of $200.  I can imagine the consternation this would cause any business owner to be at the mercy of one or two people and all it takes is a few hundred dollars.  I know many of you will be thinking that this is an over blown situation and surely calmer heads will prevail.  I have no indication that the vote will be unanimous or even positive for Davis Ace.  That worries me as typically there are hints and nods of approval or disapproval on most issues.

So what is the problem?  There is an urban planning philosophy that if parking is to be provided in downtowns, then it should be located behind buildings or in structures above buildings.  This allows pedestrians, bikers and car drivers to see store fronts, people dining and all sorts of other activity rather than parked cars.  It is often referred to as an “activated street scape”. That sounds good to me.  Davis Ace is not proposing to tear down their entire building and redevelop one of the largest privately owned parcels in town.  What they have decided is that they need to focus on their customers.  Their customers need to know that when they come to shop they can park, make their purchases, and get on their way.

Davis Ace wants to provide parking because we have a parking problem.  I don’t meet many people who think that downtown Davis does not have a parking problem.  At lunch and after work in particular is a challenge, and for a business like Davis Ace I can see that they want every customer to know that if they head to their store that they will not be circling the block for an hour.  Not every business relies on proximate parking.  If one is catering to students then much of their customers arrive on bikes or buses.  If one sells coffee I would expect the percentage of people who drive, just to get a cup of coffee downtown, is fairly low.    Davis Ace appears to me to be a type of store that is a destination (not to mention, a car is required to transport purchase from there – I can’t imagine trying to walk 6 blocks with 3 flats of veggies start for my garden).

As we have converted 60,000 square feet of downtown retail and office space to bars and restaurants the parking demands have increased four to ten times.  If you have lived here for a few decades you know that the parking problem was not so dramatic ten years ago, and before this mass conversion.

As someone who appreciates the hard work, stress and contributions of those who run businesses, it pains me that they would have to suffer because of the anti-car and anti-parking zealots.   I feel like the anti-car and pro-biking people are pushing too hard against those with different passions and concerns.  Rather than being respectful of others, they are on the attack.  That is not good for a civil society nor is it good for the long-term viability of our downtown.  In trying to understand this behavior I have spoken to some of my friends who I grew up with riding bikes in Davis about where this anti-car philosophy originates.  They don’t see it as a true Davis value.   They see it as a Jonny-come-lately who doesn’t understand.  As kids we loved the freedom of biking and now as parents we see it first hand how good and convenient it is for our own children.  It is healthy, encourages self sufficiency and is quite convenient.  We enjoy biking as adults and for some of us it is a lifestyle choice.   The true Davis value system is pro bike, pro business and supports those who want or need to drive. I hope you agree.

Jason Taormino is a Realtor and Developer with Aileron Land & Development, he is also the President of the Davis Chamber.



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59 thoughts on “Please Support Davis Ace, Property Rights and the Freedom to Pursue Economic Vitality”

  1. Tia Will

    I have not taken a stand on this issue. Even though I live in very close proximity to the space being discussed, I can see pros and cons either way and so would most likely defer to the judgement of the owner of Ace and the city staff. However, I do have some comments on Jason’s article.

     I don’t meet many people who think that downtown Davis does not have a parking problem.”

    I want to voice my opinion as one who does not believe that we have a parking problem. I believe that we have an attitude problem. Many seem to feel that they are entitled by some unspecified right to park in the same block as the business they wish to use.  One recent commenter opined that if there were two parking spaces per block, there was not a problem. Starting around the fifties people began choosing an automobile centered life without much thought about the downside to this approach including environmental, health and social deleterious impacts. I would argue that there is nothing that necessitates circling for a parking space. If you don’t see the space you want, park a few blocks further away. When I lived in North Star and had two children, I still did not see it as an excessive burden to walk three or four blocks to my destination enjoying the sights and sounds of downtown as we walked. People on their feet patronize businesses. People in their cars burn gas and create fumes. Have someone disabled in the family…drop them off first.  Make allowances for disabled individuals ( as we already do). It is really not that difficult, just a change in mind set.

    I can’t imagine trying to walk 6 blocks with 3 flats of veggies start for my garden).”

    Nor should you have to. But this can be handled in other ways with a little business creativity. If Nugget can always have someone “help me out to my car” with my purchases, I see no reason that a cart or trolley and store employee could not ” help you to your parked car. Also, I think that the framing is an exaggeration. In the almost 30 years I have lived in Davis, I can think of one or two times I was deterred from walking the maximum of 3-4 blocks from my destination and that was due to concomitant rain, not the few block walk. I cannot recall ever having to park 6 blocks from destination.

     I feel like the anti-car and pro-biking people are pushing too hard against those with different passions and concerns.  Rather than being respectful of others, they are on the attack.”

    I see this quite differently. I feel that those who favor an automobile centered society have had virtual hegemony in designing/dictating the design of our physical public spaces since around the 1950’s, maybe longer, but I wasn’t around then. As time has gone on, we have seen more and more of the deleterious consequences of this approach in terms of the environment, social isolation, and poor health. I think that it is well past time that we begin to think not solely in terms of the preferences of the “my right to use my car in any way I see fit” set, to a more wholistic approach in balancing the needs of all who share the space in which we live. Now, when we are having a robust discussion of how best to revision our community for the future would seem to me a real opportunity to allow a re envisioning of a better balance between an automobile dominant culture and a culture in which all is not designed around automobiles.

     

  2. Alan Miller

    those who favor an automobile centered society have had virtual hegemony in designing/dictating the design of our physical public spaces since around the 1950’s

    I agree with this and couldn’t be a stronger advocate of public transit and bicycling, doing both nearly every day.  HOWEVER, according to Michael Bisch in a comment in the Vanguard a few days ago:

    You can include Davis Bicycles! in the “interesting collection of people.” DB! funded 50% of the appeal fee.

    And here I agree with the author of this article that:

    “ I feel like the anti-car and pro-biking people are pushing too hard against those with different passions and concerns.  Rather than being respectful of others, they are on the attack.”

    Like it or not, auto is still the dominant transportation, ‘even’ in Davis, ESPECIALLY for trips to the hardware store.  And this is a fairly unique business and it’s not like they are redeveloping into something new, like a wine bar or gym — they are just doing what makes sense for their business, and they should damn well be allowed to.  They are like the one major retail outlet that almost every person in Davis goes to.

    Trying to paint this appeal as green or somehow supporting bicycling is bat-S crazy.  Why?  Because when you attack someone’s form of transportation, you lose those who might choose that mode but would be your allie on improving bicycle infrastructure.  So instead if bicycle advocates are fighting against needed parking, they appear as radicals and alienate people who drive, thus setting up an “us against them” mentality, instead of cooperation.  Think this S through people!

    As Karen Bond commented in the Enterprise yesterday:  “Please do not think that all cyclist are radicals about parking as we are not. There is a group of cyclists in Davis, that believe we should not owe cars. They are the minority.

    Those supporting this appeal cite a gamut of Davis planning and zoning documents.  Yet in October, 2016, M. West (primary appellant) said in Vanguard comments:

    I will point out that requests for zoning exceptions are the normal course of action in city planning and development all throughout our society. It seems to primarily be the no-change fanatics who act as if zoning regulations and design guidelines were meant to be etched in stone.

    Yet the appellants cite these as the reason for the appeal, and then state that these things should be fluid, but I guess that doesn’t apply to the Planning Commission considering the bigger picture here!

    I predict this appeal goes down in flames and becomes a big black eye for the appellants.

    1. darelldd

      Don’t we have enough of this black-and-white stuff in politics? Here’s what I keep hearing (paraphrased, of course).

      If you want better pedestrian and bicycle facilities, you must hate cars, or at least not care about those who drive.
      If you want to manage car parking better (to mostly benefit drivers), you must hate cars, or at least not care about those who drive.
      If you want a more attractive downtown, you must hate cars, or at least not care about those who drive.
      If you care about the environment, you must hate cars, or at least not care about those who drive.

      This is so not an attack on somebody’s chosen form of transportation… until the above misguided assumptions are brought into play. Except for the edge cases, basically everybody in this town is a driver and a pedestrian at some point. And a huge number also use bicycle and bus transportation. It has to all work together. And today we continue to massively incentivize just one form of transportation.

      There are all kinds of things that I can’t legally build on my property that I’d love to have. And that’s because of laws borne of a collective vision we have of our town.

       

       

    2. Michael Bisch

      Jason and Alan are engaging in straw-men arguments. Darell has already done a good job of exposing the anti-car straw-man, so I’ll take on the false argument about Mark being inconsistent. He has been entirely consistent in advocating for flexibility in policy to achieve desired goals. Mark’s advocacy has not changed one iota. With the proposed Ace project policy is being circumvented and goals undermined. And when I write “goals”, I’m referring to goals stated in the GP, CASP, Design Guidelines, zoning ordinance and City Council Goals.

      By the way, painting the project opponents monolithically as anti-car is absurd (there are project opponents who advocate for development of an additional downtown parking structure for instance).

      Meanwhile, what I’m hearing from many Ace project supporters is the policies and goals are irrelevant, they would just like to see the Ace project approved. I, and the other individuals opposing the project, don’t agree with the project supporters’ approach, but at least the supporters are being intellectually honest in that regard (but not with these goofy straw-men arguments).  The same can not be said of the commissioners regrettably.

      1. Don Shor

        With the proposed Ace project policy is being circumvented and goals undermined. And when I write “goals”, I’m referring to goals stated in the GP, CASP, Design Guidelines, zoning ordinance and City Council Goals.

        Over time the proportion of restaurant/bar/nightclub sites to retail has increased. Those types of businesses have increased parking demand. That’s demonstrated by any number of standards used by other cities.
        In Sunnyvale, bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to have 9 – 13 spaces per 1000 sq. ft, compared to 4 – 5 for retail.
        In L.A., it’s 10 spaces per 1000 sq. ft., compared to 4.
        Clearly it is recognized that entertainment and dining businesses increase parking demand. We seem to fail to acknowledge that here.
        So over time, the demand for parking spaces downtown has increased but the supply has not increased. Have the GP, CASP, Design Guidelines, zoning ordinances and City Council Goals been modified to adjust for these changes? In short, have the city’s policies been adjusted to deal with the facts on the ground — the reality of increased demand without increased supply? When a business changes from retail to restaurant, does that factor somehow into the city’s parking planning?

        I believe that this appeal has harmed the prospects for form-based planning being implemented successfully in Davis. We will need to watch carefully for use of ‘shall’ instead of ‘should’, for any lack of flexibility in implementation, for failure to acknowledge the facts on the ground and the impact on existing businesses.

        1. Michael Bisch

          Don, yes, the increased parking impacts have been recognized by the City Council.  They’re reflected in the Downtown Parking Management plan and the parking in-lieu fee consultant’s report, both of which were acted upon by the CC. In fact, the most recent CC action in this regard was only 2 weeks ago.

          It’s unfortunate that most of this downtown policy discussion the past few weeks has been divorced from fact and characterized by innuendo, ad hominem attacks,strawman arguments, blatant contradictions, hypocrisy, etc. So, yes, I agree, how this conversation has unfolded here is likely to have an impact on the form-based codes adoption process. But that’s hardly surprising. It’s pretty much par for the course in Davis policy discussions.

          1. Don Shor

            the increased parking impacts have been recognized by the City Council. They’re reflected in the Downtown Parking Management plan

            http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/public-works/transportation/transportation-planning/downtown-parking-management-plan

            Which of these action items increases parking supply in response to the increased demand?

            It’s unfortunate that most of this downtown policy discussion the past few weeks has been divorced from fact and characterized by innuendo, ad hominem attacks, strawman arguments, blatant contradictions, hypocrisy, etc. So, yes, I agree, how this conversation has unfolded here is likely to have an impact on the form-based codes adoption process. But that’s hardly surprising. It’s pretty much par for the course in Davis policy discussions.

            Actually, I think it has to do with mandating goals that should be developed cooperatively (‘shall’ vs ‘should’), and failing to be pragmatic about it. Those are some of the points I was making in my column over the weekend.

        2. Michael Bisch

          Don: #1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 16, 18 and 19. #19 was the recommendation that the CC addressed 2 weeks ago in which they directed staff to apply parking requirements to restaurant conversions (an issue you raised in your comment) and they directed staff to start leasing for public use underutilized parking capacity from private property owners.

          1. Don Shor

            1, Establish Paid Parking in Southeast Quadrant.
            In Progress.

            2, “Increase Employee Parking Options.
            Old East Davis
            Old North Davis”. Not Started

            3, Increase Employee Permit Fees and Streamline Employee Parking to Single “X” Permit.
            Complete. How does this increase parking supply?

            6, Eliminate On-Street Green Waste in the Downtown.
            Complete. Not sure how much this increases parking supply.

            7, Extend Enforcement to 8:00 p.m.
            Not Started

            11, Develop Transportation and Parking Alternatives Campaign.
            Completed. How much did this increase parking?

            13, Explore Voluntary Shared-Parking District.
            In Progress.

            16, Expand Parking Supply
            Not Started.

            18 Improve Transit Options
            Not Started

            and 19. Re-Examine In-Lieu Fees and Procedures
            In Progress.

      2. Colin Walsh

        Michael, I have seen you make statements that the Ace Davis Hardware, “GP, CASP, Design Guidelines, zoning ordinance and City Council Goals” repeatedly, but I have seen little actual citation to back up your assertion. Can you please cite clearly what parts of these documents you are referring to?

        1. Michael Bisch

          Not sure what to make of your assertion. There have been countless excerpts from these planning documents included in multiple articles on this subject. The appeal letter from Mark West was the most comprehensive.

          http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/06/appealing-planning-commission-decision-approve-redevelopment-ace-hardware/

          So while some are backing up their assertions with excerpts from the documents and quotes from the commission meetings, others such as Jason are simply making stuff up.

    3. Mark West

      As I stated in my explanation of why I filed the appeal, I am not opposed to making changes to zoning when those changes are beneficial to the project and to the community. If we are going to ignore the zoning regulations and visioning documents, however, as we are doing in this case, it is the City Council that should be making that decision, not Staff or the Planning Commission. Apparently, some here are unable to understand the simple idea that our elected officials are the only appropriate arbiters in these cases.

      The real hilarity, however, is to be attacked by those who have in the past demanded that zoning regulations and design guidelines be followed to the letter when faced with a project that they don’t want (Trackside), but willingly ignore those same documents when a project fits their desires (not-Trackside).

       

       

      1. Alan Miller

        As we have stated repeatedly, OEDNA welcomes a compliant project on that site.  The current Trackside proposal is not.

        You are arguing that the ACE proposal doesn’t follow the guidelines among other planning documents.

        Then you say those should be flexible.

        Your own arguments is follow them, but you don’t support them being inflexible.

        WTF?

        1. Mark West

          No, my argument is that the CC should decide if we are going to ignore the zoning, not Staff or the PC. How hard is that for you to understand?

          You are right, the Trackside proposals (so far to date) do not conform to zoning. What does that have to do with ACE? Nothing. They are different projects that should be evaluated separately, not using one as a proxy for the other. If ACE had proposed a 5-6 story mixed use building with residential over commercial, it would not have conformed to the zoning either, but it would have been more in keeping with the ‘spirit’ of those documents than the current proposal to demolish a building to put in a private parking lot and solar farm. It would also make more economic sense, providing greater benefits to the community, the City, and likely the applicant (though that would be up to them to decide), and would likely be approved by the current CC (despite objections of the old East Davis fuddy-duddies).

           

  3. Keith O

    “ I feel like the anti-car and pro-biking people are pushing too hard against those with different passions and concerns.  Rather than being respectful of others, they are on the attack.”

    There is a group of cyclists in Davis, that believe we should not own cars. They are the minority.

    I totally agree with these two statements and I have been saying basically the same thing for years.

    1. darelldd

      Is this an organized “group of cyclists in Davis” who believe we should not own cars? I’ve not met them or even heard of them. What makes them cyclists vs., say, pedestrians? And… what does this have to do with the proposed private car parking lot at ACE?

      To date, I have no heard of one argument along the lines of: Davis Ace should not build a new private car parking lot, because we shouldn’t own cars.” And yet… I keep hearing this brought up as a reason for ANYTHING that has to do with envisioning a more livable downtown.

        1. Keith O

          It’s no just the anti-car bicycle advocates, but also the anti-parking and the close down streets to cars bicycle advocates.

          Just do some reading, articles and comment sections.  It’s out there.  You have three people alone just on this thread who have the same perception.  Are we all dreaming this up?

           

        2. darelldd

          Are we all dreaming this up?

          I can’t tell what you’re dreaming, but I can say that it appears that way, yes. You are inferring and making assumptions, then illogically calling those assumptions facts (though I agree that you got one out of three correct, even if you named it wrong. There are those who do wish to open some streets to people. And I am one of them.)

          If I wish to manage downtown car parking better, do you assume that I’m an anti-car bicycle advocate, and that I’m anti-parking?

        3. Keith O

          Darelldd, do you represent the entire biking community?  You’re acting as if this is all about you.  Like I and others have stated, we’ve read many comments to lead us to believe that “the anti-car and pro-biking people are pushing too hard against those with different passions and concerns.  Rather than being respectful of others, they are on the attack” and
          “There is a group of cyclists in Davis, that believe we should not own cars.”

        4. darelldd

          Don wrote: “Define Better.”

          I’m willing to strike that from my comment (it was poor grammar anyway!) It then becomes, “If I wish to manage downtown car parking, do you assume…”

          And I’m willing to strike it because we really don’t manage our parking. We plunk it down with public money and make a free-for-all out of it.

          But if I don’t duck the better bit, I’ll go with:

          “If I wish to better manage downtown car parking, do you assume…”

          And in that case, “better” means in a way that increases the availability of existing car parking for the convenience of those who wish or need to drive.

          Available parking is what people actually want. What’s said almost every time is that “more” parking is what we need.

           

        5. Mark West

          “Available parking is what people actually want.”

          This is exactly right, it is the lack of availability, not the cost, that leads to frustration. That is why paid parking is such a valuable tool because you can adjust the cost of parking to increase or decrease availability as needed. Allowing ‘free’ private parking lots makes management of parking more difficult, and increases congestion as drivers circle or wait for an available ‘free’ space in the private lot.

          Davis isn’t unique in this regard, and this is not a new idea. The current zoning regulations that strongly discourage private parking lots in the core area were written 10-25 years ago (depending on the document). Why would we want to move backward on this issue?

  4. Roberta Millstein

    Have someone disabled in the family…drop them off first

    This is often not feasible. Not all people with disabilities can simply be left off to fend for themselves, even for just a few minutes, e.g., a person with dementia or a person who uses a walker but cannot stand for very long.

  5. Todd Edelman

    A big part of what’s happening here is that a large number of drivers who visit by car to pick up a few small items are digging the graves of a minority of drivers who are trying to pick up some soil, potting or otherwise. Contractors and others can’t park because people who don’t need large vehicles to access Ace or other places Downtown are also using motor vehicles.

    In other words it’s not the “greenies” who should be blamed for the current situation. It’s in large part the less necessary drivers who are attacking the more necessary drivers. That’s poor behavior which the City is slowly trying to reduce with various policies, some working better (parking pricing) than others (cycling infrastructure or program support, e.g. for larger utility-oriented bicycles).

    We can’t have our take and eat it, too. Better transit, more appropriate infrastructure and bikes used for transport and more appropriate use of parking will keep retail in Davis while improving the livability and functionality of all areas including the intersections between private property and the public realm.

    A majority of City Council needs to be convinced that the Planning Commission’s approval of the proposed modification and staff’s agreement with same is a bad reaction to a very incomplete Downtown access policy. Downtown business owners also need to take appropriate responsibility for their decisions made over the past several decades and work diligently and transparently with City actors to create usable and enforceable permission for access for certain types of users and vehicles or activities (Contractors, anyone needing motor vehicles to take home large objects, to facilitate home delivery and ADA requirements using without increasing the footprint of these activities — specifically for the latter the 4th St. garage has ADA-compliant spaces, so how ’bout a raised crossing directly to the entrance to Ace to match the other one missing across 3rd?).

    1. Alan Miller

      It’s in large part the less necessary drivers who are attacking the more necessary drivers.

      A majority of City Council needs to be convinced . . .

      staff’s agreement with same is a bad reaction . . .

      Downtown business owners also need to take appropriate responsibility . . .

      You are telling people what they need to do and that they did things wrong.  While I agree with the trend of your goals, you are not going to win friends, influence people, or form political alliances to get better alternate transportation infrastructure with this approach.  “Less Necessary Drivers” — that one should stick well in Davis citizen craws.

      1. Keith O

         “Less Necessary Drivers” 

        who are

        attacking the more necessary drivers.

        I never knew that by just driving downtown that I was actually attacking anyone.

  6. Ron

    Taking a step back, for a moment (with an “honest” question, for lack of a better word):

    Does the appellant (or anyone else with concerns and knowledge) see a way that parking can be constructed, while fitting in better with guidelines?  (In other words, is part of the concern related to the specific design and position of the lot?)

    Or, is it parking itself that you’re concerned with (regardless of design, position on lot, access point, etc.)? (And, your position is that it’s “not allowed”, there?)

    I understand that Davis ACE is not interested in including residential units within that space, and that “mixed use” is apparently not practical.

    1. Howard P

      Neither the appellant, nor anyone else opposed based on current rules/laws/policies, have any obligation, legally, morally, and/or ethically to solve or propose alternatives to what they perceive as problems with the proposal.

      1. Ron

        Howard:

        My, what a “testy” response.  Just trying to ask a straightforward question. I didn’t ask anyone to “solve” a problem, or propose alternatives.

        Is the objection to parking (in any form/manner on the site), or is it the specific design, location, and access that’s a concern?

        Might be something that the council would consider, as well.

         

      2. Ron

        In other words, does the appellant (or anyone else with knowledge) believe that the ordinances state that adding parking is “strictly prohibited” on the site?

        Really, a pretty basic question. (Perhaps one ultimately for the council.)

        1. Mark West

          Instead of waiting to be spoonfed, why don’t you just read the documents for yourself? They are all available for download from the City’s website, and the relevant sections could all be digested in a single sitting. If you are interested in the answers, take the time to become informed.

        2. Ron

          Mark:

          Not interested in being “spoonfed”, or in digging through documents to research this topic further.  (That’s a job for the council, at this point.)

          Just wanted to know what YOU think the ordinances state, regarding my question.  It’s your complaint (and you’ve chosen to repeatedly engage on the Vanguard), and this is a pretty basic/fundamental question.

          I’ll repeat it:

          Do you (or anyone else with knowledge) believe that the ordinances state that adding parking is “strictly prohibited” on the site?

        3. Michael Bisch

          Parking on the parcel is not “prohibited” although there are very clear stipulations on how the parking can be configured and accessed. Formal city policy for the subject parcel is to “encourage” the property owner through financial and other incentives to forego onsite parking altogether small, private, inefficient parking lots are detrimental to the downtown overall.  There are very compelling reasons for this, which is why these policies are stated over and over again in the planning documents.  We would not have a vibrant downtown if variances were granted to all downtown property owners or even to a large minorty of  property owners. These policies were reaffirmed by the Council twice  just this year with the most recent action taken two weeks ago albeit it was “direction” to staff rather than a resolution or other formal action.

        4. Ron

          Michael:  Thanks for the response.

          Don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but it seems that your concern is related to the parking itself on the site (and not necessarily the design, access, etc.). (I wasn’t totally sure.)

        5. Michael Bisch

          Actually, you are putting words in my mouth. I don’t understand why this is so challenging. I’m focused on the ends.  My “concern” is that we have not been achieving the agreed upon ends, which in this case is downtown redevelopment. Instead, all the focus is on the means (parking) with no regard for the ends (redevelopment). Parking is a tool (a means). It is not an ends in and of itself. Yet you have a number of commenters who’s singular focus is on parking as if parking was the ends. It’s weird.  Who reasons that way? The goal is to Build and Promote a Vibrant Downtown, also to Drive a Diverse and Resilient Economy, and to Pursue Environmental Sustainability. It’s not Build Gobs and Gobs of Parking.

        6. Ron

          Michael:  “My “concern” is that we have not been achieving the agreed upon ends, which in this case is downtown redevelopment.”

          I’m failing to see how a request to build a parking lot in this situation stands in the way of that goal.

          I think I have my answer – you’re apparently against parking on the site in any manner, shape or form, and you believe that the ordinances support that position.

        7. Michael Bisch

          That’s weird, Ron. I wrote the exact opposite. I wrote, “Parking on the parcel is not “prohibited”. And it’s not a question of what I believe. The ordinances state what they state.

  7. Alan Miller

    the close down streets to cars bicycle advocates.

    I am one of those, and I still don’t get the opposition to ACE putting in a parking lot.

    To be clear, I put together two proposals I’d heard and put them together in a Vanguard post, one of which I’d heard was advocated by local business interests.  The devil is in the details:  clearly, this would require a parking structure to make up for lost parking, require a functional auto-distribution plan around the ped areas, and require slow-speed access for customer pick-ups, and require a huge buy-in by downtown businesses (an unlikely prospect). The entire idea was a few blocks on an X pattern.

    I put this plan out there as a reasonable compromise to another commenter who proposed eliminating all cars from downtown (a completely utopian looney-toones plan).  If you  find the name of that commenter in your research, you will have found at least one “anti-car” person.

      1. Tia Will

        Roberta

        I thought that I had made it clear that I feel that exemptions should be made for the handicapped just as we now reserve spaces for such individuals. Apparently I was not clear enough. I do not see that as prohibitive to allow some space in downtown to be car limited.

        Keith

        the anti-car and pro-biking people are pushing too hard against those with different passions and concerns” 

        I see this as quite the opposite. As it is in our downtown now, every street is car accessible and has been as long as I have been in town. So where is the respect for the desires of those of us who would like to have a space where we can bike or meander along without having to worry about cars ?  The space for your preferred mode exists throughout downtown and always has. The respect and concern for my passion is ….where ?  I am not seeking a ban on cars. I am seeking some collaboration and as was said mutual respect in space usage.

        TW comes to mind and it doesn’t stand for Tiger Woods.

        I do not and have not ever advocated for removing all cars from downtown which I also see as a totally impractical solution. So if this was a reference to me, your assertion that I have said or advocated for this is completely untrue.

    1. darelldd

      [find the person] who proposed eliminating all cars from downtown… [and] you will have found at least one “anti-car” person.
      So here’s the thing with that assumption. To me it is similar to how we wish to eliminate all privately-held guns from planes, schools and court rooms. That idea is not the same as being “anti-gun.” I’m comfortable with saying this because a recent, huge NRA rally did not allow guns.
      I’m aware that “anti-car” people exist. But anti-car isn’t what this is about. And each time this issue is phrased in that context, we all lose.

      1. Alan Miller

        My belief is that the woman who made the comment in the Enterprise that I quoted was being hyperbolic . . . and what she actually meant is people who are taking this too far in one direction.  That seems abundantly clear to me.  To then take that comment and imply that she meant it literally is exactly what is causing the problem here with black and white arguments.

        1. darelldd

          Pardon my confusion. Am *I* the one who’s taken something too literally, and am guilty of making a black and white argument where one doesn’t exist? I’m not sure I even know what we’re talking about any longer.

          Somebody made the claim of an anti-car cycling group.

          I asked who that was.

          I was told that they exist in comments sections.

          One commenter apparently proposed eliminating all cars from downtown. So we’ve found our car hater (is this what I took too literally? I have no context and only see what is written here)

          I pointed out that wishing to have some car-free streets does not make one a car-hater (you, me, many others).

        2. Alan Miller

          I’m not sure I even know what we’re talking about any longer.

          I’m not either . . . I think it was what two flavors of Slurpee are being served at the 7-11 at 5th & L during this heatwave.

        3. Mark West

          “I think it was what two flavors of Slurpee are being served at the 7-11 at 5th & L during this heatwave.”

          I remember those costing $0.10 each, but if you bought two at one time you needed an extra penny for the tax. That was a while ago, but the store is much the same.

  8. Dave Hart

    Michael Bisch’s comment is the first clear explanation of the issue for me, an outsider on all of this planning insider terminology:  The city doesn’t favor gobs of inefficient, small parking lots scattered all over the place and has determined it is bad for the goal of redeveloping, in a good way, the downtown.  Now I think I get the reason for the appeal.  So I’ll say some things that will probably make some people mad at me:  I think ACE Lumber’s customer traffic is, unlike restaurants and bars, very specific (people don’t just wander in like they might at the Artery or a bike shop) and relatively high volume akin to a grocery store.  This argues that they should be allowed to have parking for just their customers.  Their business is different in that respect and it would even be okay with me if they wanted to charge people to park there after hours.

    On the other hand, I appreciate the value of cutting down on the plethora of little crappy parking lots and consolidating parking in some structures, i.e., I would also like to see parking consciously managed.  Maybe the city could sell off or finance the redevelopment of some of its own parking lots for mixed-use higher density uses to offset these small inefficient lots.  That is something the city has control over.  I am also not impressed with the “freedom-to-do-whatever-I-want-with-my-property” or the “government-overreach” arguments.  Loser arguments.

    For full disclosure, I am a cyclist, an annual contributor to DB! and have a love/hate relationship with my car.  And weirdest of all, I don’t think there is a parking availability problem downtown unless it is defined as “available parking within three blocks of my destination” which is not an actual problem.  I also don’t drive downtown when I think it will be particularly busy.  Problem solved for no extra cost.

    1. Alan Miller

      So I’ll say some things that will probably make some people mad at me:

      Didn’t make me mad.  I agree with all of it.  Except I love my bike and my car.

      And, I would have given money to DB! (I joined today to have a say, but gave nothing) except for now I will hold off on my contribution until they go back to supporting bike infrastructure instead of getting sidetracked with spending money on ill-advised opposition stances that may alienate more people than the stance is worth (whatever it was intended to do be do be do).

  9. Michael Bisch

    Thank you, Dave, for a much needed dose of intellectual honesty. That said, there are ways to achieve the same outcomes without the negative impacts. For instance, all the parking in the alley can be converted to 20 minute parking. Or some of them converted to 5 minute loading. The city could even convert some of the parking spots in the public lot to 20 minute. Ideally, the city would negotiate a deal with Ace to significantly upgrade their 3rd Street frontage in exchange.

    1. Don Shor

      there are ways to achieve the same outcomes

      Those aren’t the same outcomes. You’re just reconfiguring existing spaces, not increasing the number of parking spaces.

    2. Dave Hart

      Shorter parking times makes sense, but it seems like a more likely result of granting the appeal is that the dilapidated building and empty space remains as is and becomes a storage lot which isn’t very appealing.  Of course, unless the city insists, the parking lot could be pretty ugly and unappealing too.  I really wish ACE would just redevelop the lot into an outdoor beer garden with valet bike parking.

    3. Alan Miller

      Ideally, the city would negotiate a deal with Ace to significantly upgrade their 3rd Street frontage in exchange.

      To . . . . . . . . . . . . . . what?

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