Saturday, June 24, 2006

North Shore Garage

Bending over backwards for the All-Star Game again.
North Shore garage unused 'Our time frame was to get it open and running smoothly by the All-Star game and that's the process we're in now.
This garage, like so many other projects in the city, has some bad karma.

It is huge. It is going to take an entire weekend to get out of the garage after a special event.

In the city, we build garage space because we know how to build garages. But, it needs to be in areas that are simple, not where there is existing need. For example, we'll build too much garage space on Second Ave for the Pgh Technology Center because they have flat open space. But there are already garages there.

We really want "wet labs" and the North Side really wants a "amphitheater" -- but -- the pathway for Pittsburgh is to build those garages first and do nothing or little else. Then, their thinking goes, the projects that are much harder to plan, build, manage, tax and program are "jump started" -- hardly.

If you want diversity of use, such as a garage on the bottom floors, mixed with retail and housing in the top floors -- build it. This is a monster sized garage that has nothing else but parked cars.

People have felt the pinch with higher gas prices and in other cities (Denver, Dallas, LA, DC) mass transit ridership is increasing by leaps and bounds. Here, we build more parking in fringe areas that isn't organic to what a vibrant neighborhood should contain.

My knocks on the garage has little to do with it being "opening week" and no ribbon cutting. I don't care to see a ribbon cutting. I don't care to have advertisements run about the "grand opening." Those are but pimples in the real life of the project.

But, the Post-Gazette does care about the lack of "marketing for the garage." The P-G would like to see some full page ads in its pages, paid by the Parking Authority.

Tell us how many use the new garage in PNC Firtside. How many use the garages on Second Ave? What capacity are they? How about real evaluations, in ongoing ways, of parking throughout the entire Parking Authority system.

The Parking Authority should be liquidated. I've said that years ago and stick by that effort as a platform plank. However, at least this is a project that was done by the Parking Authority -- and not some other agency. Too often the URA or the Housing Authority or PAT are building garages and we get serious 'mission creep' and boondogles galore.

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