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When downtown businesses shoot the city in the foot: Parking wars

You know those parking meters at The Greene? The ones where payment is optional and goes to charity? You know how you don’t have to pay for parking at any business anywhere in the suburbs? That The Greene has not one, not two, but THREE parking garages- and they are all FREE?

And then we have downtown Dayton. No, this isn’t one of those get-rid-of-parking-meter rants by some idiot. Parking meters serve a very important purpose- making sure there are spaces for people who just have to run in and run out. Otherwise, the early bird downtown workers would all fill the on-street parking spaces- and no one would go downtown. At least not in a car.

But, we have meters- and the dreaded parking meter maids. You get a ticket and it’s $5 or $10 and it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Not so in the Oregon District. While everyone knows not to park in the lot next to the porn shop – which sits empty most of the time (even the people going into the porn shop don’t want to park there for fear of being singled out)- recently two establishments have been having a feud and pissing off patrons galore.

Roost and Lucky’s Tap Room are going at it hot and heavy. Lucky’s is probably pissed about losing the spaces out front for Roost’s valet service- and decided to start towing people who park in their little side lot- adding a $100 towing fee to anyone who doesn’t take heed. Now, granted- it’s a private lot, and there are signs. And, it’s happening often- so the first thing Roost should do is to ask where you parked- and have the valet move the car if it’s in Lucky’s lot.
However, if the Lucky’s owners really want to keep their spots free for their customers, they could make their first move by asking the people at Roost to please stop in after their meal to have a beer or two at Lucky’s – or make a donation to a charity much like they do at The Greene. Instead of calling a tow company- get a boot- but, label it a charity boot.

The real question is why has the city not built a garage behind the EPA building, even with a nominal parking fee of $1-$3 – it could change the district into a really amazing place. All the parking spaces out front- could be used for extended patios- closing off the street to cars entirely would make for an awesome party district (especially since the street isn’t even fit to drive on). The garage could even have mixed uses- with more retail on the first floor- and a rooftop party deck- or housing on top. This is an economic development project worthy of tax dollars and would help many businesses- instead of handouts to single companies who promise the world and deliver squat.

For all the money we’ve poured into the Downtown Dayton Partnership- what the Oregon District is still in need of most is public infrastructure to support the businesses. Towing customers is just sending a message to take your money elsewhere and helps no-one in the long run.

(This post was for S.T., who had her car towed on Friday night.)

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Chuck

Dayton put “urban flight” on the map, with its “i know better mentality”.
Amazing how the Greene opened and flourished during the height of the recession! And still strong….
Dayton will continue to wallow in the mud with its blinders on. Why change a community that is happy with its self….I believe Dr. Schuster suggested a complete change in administrative personnel to reverse the musical chairs of incompetence. And life goes on……ho hum.

OHKID

Great Ideas sir, hope they can happen!

In particular, closing 5th to traffic. Just makes logical sense. Use the HD Supply lot the city owns for parking until a parking garage can be built and “Oregon East” comes online.

Stacy M. Thompson

Great ideas David…….

truddick

Well, another issue here: why did the Oregon district ever agree to the “I’m so trendy” idea of making the sidewalks wavy so that there are only 3 or fewer on-street parking spots per block? There is NO sensible benefit to reducing convenient on-street parking; there is not enough pedestrian traffic to justify periodic wider sidewalks. This is another example of “we don’t care about transportation, we think urban planning is art.”

While we’re at it, why do city leaders think that streets need to be for something other than transportation? Fifth Street is paved with bricks in the OD, and they never hold up under the demands–and they’re crummy pavement in the first placce. If OD businesses want me driving by more often, they’ll petition the city for real concrete pavement next time so that if I might drive 5th street, I will not be discouraged by the bumpy slow experience. In the long run they’d also save money.

Skeptic

Let’s not forget to mention that the Greene is a private property built by a for-profit developer, competing with other privately-held retail centers, where the parking is paid by retail customers purchasing overpriced Chinese goods.

Downtown is…. not that.

Jeff G

All of the parking lots in the Oregon district are privately owned and maintained or are part of a collective like the lot next to Omega Music. The city can’t just build a garage. Also, 5th Street cannot be simply closed to traffic due to the RTA, regulations related to receiving Federal Highway funds, and general government stupidity.
However, there are 1,400 parking spots in the Transportation Center just across Patterson Blvd that go unused ever day. You wouldn’t know that they exist because signage is non-existent. I don’t know how much it costs to park there because the rates are not posted anywhere on the outside of the garage. Go up to View 162 at the Crowne Plaza some Friday or Saturday night and look down on all of the empty parking spots. Even when there is an event at the Convention Center, it is still pathetically empty
With the addition of the lights under the garage as well as the lights under the newly painted railroad bridge, the path from the garage to the Oregon District is very pedestrian friendly. OK, timing of the Patterson lights isn’t very good, so you have to break into a light jog in order to cross before the lights turn green, but the general lighting and safety conditions are very good.
The Oregon District doesn’t have a parking problem. It has an education problem. That is, educating customers on where to park. It also has a spoiled population problem. The distance from some parking spots at the Greene or the other malls is just as far as from the transportation Center to the Oregon District, but some people aren’t willing to walk. Anyone who has visited any major city on the east coast or Chicago understands REAL parking challenges. It’s typical in those locations to pay $10+ to park in a garage and then walk several blocks to your destination. Sadly, the experience of too many people in this area is limited to Beaverbubble and suburban Mallville.

Allison

Great ideas, David. Parking is a huge problem – but so are the people. During my many years at The Diner, we had an ongoing problem with squatters using our (very small) parking lot. This, despite a giant sign reminding these people that it was a private lot for Diner patrons only – and telling them where they could retrieve their towed vehicle. The problem was most prevalent during weekend festivals, where our lot would sometimes be full well in advance of our 11:00 AM opening time. That said, I believe we only called to have a vehicle towed once (a presumed stolen vehicle that had the steering column stripped). My point being – these people drove past a sign that said “Diner parking only”, then parked under a giant sign with the same message. And got out of their cars and walked away, anyways.

Then again, we also had to regularly run people off our patio, who would think nothing of climbing over the chain and sitting down with their brown bag lunch (or their Arby’s bag, or what have you).

RN

Parking in the Oregon district should be free! Their should also be more of it. As someone that goes down there every weekend, it is really hard to find a spot to park. And even harder to find a spot to park where you actually want to leave your car after dark.

I think the challenge with paying for parking downtown in the Oregon district is… Say your going to go down to just hang out with friends. You get down there and your stuck with 3 or 5 bucks for parking then you usually have to pay to enter any bar another 5 bucks, right there you already paid 10 bucks even before you get in anywhere. I think if they had a great free parking option and a cheaper cover at most places there would be lines out the door. There are a lot more challenges in the Oregon District but Parking is a big one.

BTW Jeff G that parking garage across Patterson at night is Sketchy.

Dave C.

I just don’t want to invest much time, effort, thought, or money into parking my car.

Home/work parking consists of easily finding an empty spot, pulling in, shutting off the engine, and hitting the lock button on the remote while walking away. Come back whenever, no worries.

30 seconds, maybe 60 on a bad day.

Nat

There’s a huge lot across the street from Dublin Pub for a warehouse which is closed at night and on weekends. There’s plenty of parking for people visiting the OD who aren’t afraid to walk more than 200 ft, though perhaps that is asking too much in our drive-thru culture.

Dave C.

“Dayton had the third highest ratio of vehicle thefts per population in Ohio in 2013, according to an insurance industry study.”

The DAYTON DAILY NEWS, June 29, 2014.

Ralph

I can’t blame Lucky’s and if Roost’s business plan didn’t consider parking an issue it deserved some serious thought. I have really bad feet and simply can’t walk to the convention center parking lot but agree there’s lot’s of vacant (and not very expensive) parking there. Roost and other’s could encourage parking there by validating the parking ticket – work out a deal. It happens everywhere in other cities.

The biggest issue I have is the crime I’ve witnessed on fifth street. I (many) simply feel safer somewhere like the Greene. The city has been traditionally very bad developers and that tread continues. If you want to spend tax dollars on community development – police.

Obenour

Just a quick comment, I’ve lived downtown for eight years now and haven’t had a single issue with crime. Don’t stay out past 2am getting crazy drunk and picking fights with people and – outside the freak random incident – you’ll be completely fine. Same as in the suburbs or anywhere else.

Hall

If the parking garage on Patterson is empty like it’s been stated, building *another* garage is pretty silly and wasteful. And if it’s “sketchy”, that’s no doubt because there’s little to no traffic and whoever/whatever makes it sketchy is almost certain to move elsewhere if there’s a lot of people and/or traffic up there.