Throughout the day, my email inbox and phone were inundated with messages from business owners on Main Street who expressed outrage over today’s News-Times article on the downtown parking dilemma. At issue with most business owners is the claim from the Parking Authority’s that the parking woes are a “‘perception” problem that can be addressed “through marketing campaigns.”
In light of the “perception” claim from the city, here’s a video flashback post I did back in February on the closing of Upscale Downtown Consignments. The Main Street store was forced to close due in large part to the disappearance of available parking on Main Street, as well as confusion with the payment system at the new garage, and what many business owners called over-the-top parking enforcement.
Originally posted Feb. 4 2011:
Cross post from HatCityBLOG
Upscale Downtown Consignments is forced to close it’s doors due to parking problems on Main Street
While officials praised the recent downtown development plan, a list of recommendations which for the most part is a rehash of suggestions which were within Mayor Gene Eriquez’s Vision 21 plan over ten years ago, or ideas offered by Mayor Dyer during his watch in the 80s, over the last couple of years, the number of businesses along Main Street have been closing up shop for a variety of reason.
Now you can add the vintage clothing store Upscale Downtown Consignments to the list of retail businesses that are disappearing because of the problems associated with doing business on Main Street.
Several downtown store owners I talked to were quick to complain about the parking spaces that were removed on Main Street and how the lack of parking availability negatively effected their businesses.
Last month, did a two part interview with the store’s owner, Barbara Levitt where she described the unfriendly atmosphere for retail stores on Main Street and how those difficulties, which the disappearance of parking availability on Main Street, confusion with the parking system at the new garage on Library Place, and the lack of assistance she received from the city and state officials, contributed to the closing of her business.
Part 1: Background of Levitt’s business and the circumstances on Main Street that resulted in the closing of her business.
Part 2: Response from city of state officials to Levitt’s concerns.
For those who know about the problems on Main Street, Levitt isn’t the first person who has complained about the parking situation downtown nor is she the first person who was forced to close her door because of the situation. Years ago, the retailer “The Cow’s Outside” close it’s doors downtown and moved to Norwalk due in large part to the parking woes that Levitt described and other retailers who I talked to during my interview with Levitt echoed her concerns.
If the city truly wants a vibrant downtown, what’s needed is not rehash of suggestions from another committee but action and results.