Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Parking Hurdles

I t has been widely reported that John Tresaloni, the owner of the Fishtank on Euclid, was opening another music venue, Cosmic Charlie's, across the street where Lynagh's used to be. It is to be a site for an older crowd than those who frequent his current location, those who want to be going home about the time the younger crowd comes out to play. Some the bands that play there are comprised of some of us "old fogeys" who themselves need to get up for work the next morning.

Well, I heard through a friend, that they went for a building permit(to rebuild and enlarge the stage area, I believe) and have been stymied by the parking requirements of the zone. Parking spaces are required for every so many square feet of building area or so many seats for restaurants/bars, and it seems that there may not be enough in the lot. I think that the calculation may have changed over the years but there were never enough back when the place was built and the Library Lounge opened in that space.

The Library was a very popular spot back in the early '70s and brought people from all over the city. It also left them with almost no place to park. The location, close to the UK campus, was also a good distance from where the young people wished to live, which was NOT on campus. There was an on-going dispute between the patrons and the neighborhood for several years, then the fad wore off and the clientele became tired of the ticketing and the towing and went off to other venues.

The bar went through a series of owners and at one point declined to the level of a strip club in the late '80s and has mostly languished except for time of John Lynagh's control. All of this is to say that as ill conceived as this strip shopping center was(a suburban model near the city center), it has never had a sufficient amount of parking for whatever has occupied the spaces.

Even nearby Chevy Chase has trouble cramming all the vehicular traffic into the surface lots around and in front of their businesses. These redevelopments of older areas need to maintain the look and feel of what was there before, a walkable neighborhood shopping design with the building up on the street so that you can step right in from the sidewalk.

There has been some talk about revising the parking requirements and such for the close in neighborhood shopping areas but we also need to get serious about our transit needs, our walkability needs and our auto dependence needs. This could take care of a lot of our problems.

If our desire is to increase the density of population in the inner city, and by that I mean a two mile radius of Main and Lime, then we need to rid ourselves of the notion of 2-3 cars per household and the only way that that will happen is to beef up the transit options along with the housing options. Housing within a short walk or bike/trolley ride will do wonders for environment and the waistline. Multiple transit options to school or employment would mean fewer auto trips. All of these would mean a better quality of life for the residents of Lexington.

And allow people like John Tresaloni to provide a solution to a need that he has identified without jumping through needless government hoops.

1 comment:

ps.Lex said...

This area of Lexington is already a very walkable part of our city. I think, the most walkable actually. I live in the area, and usually walk everywhere. I walk so much around here that I only drive 20 miles a week. It would only be 10, if I could pack a lunch or eat downtown every day. Whether it be to Lynagh's or Kroger, the Aylesford & Chevy Chase area is a great place to live in Lexington. But it still amazes me how many of my neighbors drive across the street to Kroger or somewhere instead of walking.