file photo by Boyd Loving
The key questions for garage or no garage need clear answers.
1. What is the real situation with supply and demand of parking in downtown Ridgewood? There has been an abundance of sound and fury about how there is no shortage of parking and just as much about how often there are no parking spaces for consumers. We seem to have nothing more than anecdotal “evidence”. How about actual analysis?
2. How is parking used right now? How much of the parking is used by patrons of Rwood businesses, how much by commuters (resident and non resident), how much by employees of Rwood businesses?
3. How are the current parking spots allocated? Does the current allocation of dedicated employee parking work or is much of that parking going unused, putting a squeeze on available parking for consumers?
4. Which businesses could reasonably be expected to succeed or even grow in downtown Rwood? Will the trend toward restaurants and away from shopping continue?
5. Would a garage end up serving non-residents more than residents? If a garage were built, how could/should the parking fees and rules assure that the main benefit of the parking would go to Rwood taxpayers?
6. Bottom line – Is a garage needed or should the village reconfigure the existing parking?
7. What are the costs and benefits of running the current parking fee system? How much, if any, money is generated? Would Rwood be better off with free downtown parking (a system used by many surrounding towns)?
In my 24 years in Rwood, the village has spent huge sums studying the parking garage situation, without ever fixing anything. The money spent on studies over that time probably exceed the cost of building a parking structure. What a waste.