Dependable Erection

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Parking discussion

Kevin and Gary have posts up about the possible closing of Seminary St. by the downtown Y for conversion to a surface parking lot. Right now, i'm trying to revisit my thoughts yesterday to determine whether or not the sentence "The Y also recommends adding family/youth locker rooms to the downtown facility (a widely-cited need) and trying to close Seminary St. with the City's blessing in order to add more parking capacity for the facility." should be interpreted to mean that the Y is seeking the "City's blessing" to close Seminary St., or whether the City has already given its blessing to closing the street.

My problem is with the hodgepodge of conflicting city policies and initiatives, of bike plans, pedestrian plans, new bus hubs, and rhetoric which all seem to say "Onward into the less car dependent future," and construction projects and actual decision making which in fact does just the opposite. Anybody from city government want to chime in and tell us definitively whether or not the city has given its "blessing" to closing Seminary St.? And while you're here, maybe you can talk about how the city intends to actually, you know, implement these fine plans and initiatives it's spent so much money creating over the past few years?

UPDATE: In comments over at Kevin's, Councilperson Mike Woodard flat out stated: "The City has not "blessed" a proposal to close Seminary Street."

That's good to hear. Hopefully, that will remain the case.

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  • I, too, would like to know if this "blessing" is granted or merely desired. I'm thinking about the back-door sale (since rescinded) of those lots in Cleveland-Holloway, and wondering if our city government is a little too informal in its workings.

    I feel quite sure that for years, such transactions were done person-to-person, a business owner or whoever calling up Joe-Blow they know at City Hall, and a few handshakes later, they have a vacant lot or a closed street or whatever.

    I may make some people unhappy by saying this, but in some respects, that's not all bad - informal networks of trust are what greases the wheels of most societies. However, Durham in some ways is like a small town that grew too fast; informal processes still linger, ones that simply don't work in an arena of so many conflicting interests.

    Then there's also what I call "infrastructure lag," which Durham is even worse for than many other cities - an incredible amount of time passes between when a project or plan is passed and when it actually makes it into existence onto the ground. It's really only been in the last five years that Durham's govt has started to wake up to some of these sustainable-city planning principles, like walkability, public transit, core density; when you factor in that the plans going onto the ground right now are in a lot of cases way older than five years, then it's easier to understand the cause and effect. Not necessarily good, but understandable. The trick is going to be to find a way for those forward-thinking plans to get implemented a lot faster - and for the ideological shift that lies behind them to become the dominant local planning paradigm, too. Instead of the behind-the-scenes old-boy business as usual.

    By Blogger katuah, at 11:41 AM  

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