And they are asking me?

Got a call just before lunch today- from Jim DeBrosse at the Dayton Daily News. He was working on a “State of Downtown” piece and was looking for some input/insight.

It will be interesting which pieces he picks for the article- some points I made:

  • Downtown is bigger than what most define as “downtown” in my book. I include NCR, UD, MVH, Grandview, DAI, Wright Dunbar business district, 5/3rd Field and the ring Historic Districts including South Park, Oregon District, McPherson Town, St. Annes Hill, etc.
  • We need a standardized parking rate/signage system. Also, end in (or diagonal parking downtown). Tax breaks to lots that are improved- higher taxes on scraped, unattended lots. Provide discounts to hybrid vehicles.
  • Make it legal to park scooters and motorcycles on wide sidewalks, as long as pedestrian access isn’t blocked (this helps bring more people downtown because they take up less parking spaces).
  • Eliminate the Downtown Dayton Partnership and the overpriced Maureen Pero- but keep the ambassadors.
  • Eliminate all local Economic Development people- make one group for the region. Cut off ED/GE money to anyone who doesn’t comply.
  • Simplify income tax to a county wide tax- one rate, distributed by population and need formula.
  • Make RTA rides free (until the buses are full)- fares don’t contribute much to RTA’s budget.
  • Stop Sinclairs expansion outside Montgomery County- build a high speed rail connection instead. (Use money from the unneeded Austin road interchange).
  • Ease building and zoning requirements on adaptive reuse projects in downtown CBD and historic areas. Eliminate all requirements for providing parking spaces per square foot and let the market equalize and adapt.

This was off the top of my head- and really quick. There are a lot of other things that can still be done.

What ideas do you have?

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4 Responses

  1. Phillip Ranly August 5, 2006 / 12:06 pm
    The idea of diagonal parking spaces is good. In addition we need more medians down the center of the streets with trees/greenery. Many of the streets are wider than needed. The Oregon District feels so cohesive and easy to navigate without a car, partly because the streets aren’t excessively wide and the wonderful aura created by the trees that overhang the streets. It actually feels like it was designed with people in mind! And isn’t that what the city is about anyways? But I think that is a simple and inexpensive way to start creating a little bit of action and movement on the streets/sidewalks. Who wants to cross a 4 or 5 lane street with cars whizzing by? These large gulfs of asphalt aren’t helping anyone.

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  2. Jeff August 5, 2006 / 4:16 pm
    I think they should have more Dave Hall Plazas and dedicated parking like the RTA has. Tear down all those empty and grungy buildings downtown.

    Tear down the Arcade, McCrorys, that abandoned high rise next to McCrorys, the DDN complex, the abandoned “Schwind” building (Moraine Embassy Apartments), Patterson Vocational, and a few other empty old buildings, and replace them with parking and landscaping. This will make downtown seem more like a pleasant suburban office park like Newmark or Lexis-Nexis, and less the vacant wasteland, and solve the problem of parking being “away” from offices.

    For example, a part of the Arcade site could be used as dedicated parking for tenants of the Kuhns Building. They can drive downtown and park next to their offices in a secure private lot.

    They can tear down Patterson Vocational and also tear down that gay bar and beauty school over on 2nd, and turn that part of the block into a park like Cooper Park. For that matter turn that huge parking lot south of 2nd into an extension of Cooper Park.

    It could be the start of “The Greening of Downtown”.

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  3. David Esrati August 5, 2006 / 5:24 pm

    Jeff-
    The problem isn’t parking
    the problen isn’t empty buildings
    the problem isn’t really one that Government has to deal with.
    If that sounds radical- it is.
    The economic ecosystem has been fouled by government intervention too many times- and it may be time to back out- and let the real estate take a wild west ride by the private sector-
    we’ve already let the bankers do as they please with predatory lending- and now, we’re going to have an equalization- and then a rebirth.
    CareSource is asking for money and tax breaks-
    if we let the real estate get cheap enough- by not propping things up (ie taking buildings out of the inventory- which also costs money)- we will see savvy investors come in and make things happen- ONLY if we don’t make it impossible to rehab-
    do you realize how many years HUD slowed down the Cannery project?
    We could have lots more like it- if the buildings remain- but the bureaucracy was lifted-
    many people have tried to develop the crown jewel of the Oregon District (next to Newcomes) but can’t- because of zoning laws that make no sense).
    Right now there is more parking than is needed – except for Sinclair- which is now expanding elsewhere- because our idiot leadership is letting them-
    Do you know that there was a rumor that Arthur Beerman put a condition of no retail near Sinclair in the 60’s- to protect his department store?
    It’s that kind of meddling that has gotten us into trouble- and continues to do so.

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  4. Lynn August 7, 2006 / 1:25 pm
    Hi David, my name is Lynn and I am a Sinclair marketing student that contacted you several months about a marketing project. I just found your blog from the Dayton Daily News website and never realized that you had so many great ideas for the city. I too live, work, and attend school in Dayton and am a Dayton supporter. I have a lot of ideas that I have sent to Ms Mclin with no response. ITs great to see someone that has a lot of ideas for Dayton that also lives in Dayton rather than most suburbanites that just complain about the city from afar. I like your ideas on the county tax and Sinclair not moving out of the county. So many both in and out of the city complain about Dayton but dont do anything to stimulate economic growth or plant ideas with real thought. Anyhow glad to see someone active. Take care

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