What if the garage construction falls behind schedule? That's why the Commission is seeking a variance to allow parking in Parcels 27 and 28 (along Clifford, Friendship and Richmond Streets). The Commission notified abutting property owners and announced a public hearing in conjunction with their regular monthly meeting on August 21st.
Quality of life issues concern the JDA.
The District really doesn't need any more surface parking. During the day, every lot in the District is full. At night and on weekends, we live in a macadam desert. In recent years, more buildings have morphed into parking lots than parking lots have sprouted new buildings.
And the courthouse parking lot lies wide open for uncontrolled parking at night. It has become a frequent battleground for drunken brawlers. Will closing the lot during construction move the action deeper into the heart of the District? Will residents begin finding "visitors"" cars partying in their reserved spaces? And will temporary parking turn into permanent parking while the 195 Commission waits for a developer to purchase the site and build on it?
Working productively with the 195 Commission.
During internal JDA discussions it became clear that this is not an easy Yes/No situation. We want development to proceed in the District. And in this case, temporary parking has to be found. Fortunately, the Commission recognizes our concerns and has been open to discussion. We've been monitoring the garage as it moves through the design approval process. And we've been working closely with the Commission's Executive Director Peter McNally on the other issues.
The Commission set up a meeting on the afternoon on the 21st to consider the issues and share ideas for acceptable temporary parking. JDA Board's Arthur Salisbury, Sharon Steele, Lewis Dana and Olin Thompson were joined by Al Dahlberg from Brown University and met with 195 Chair Joseph Azrack, Deputy Chair XXX Davis, Executive Director Peter McNally, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor and staff.
The net result of the work was a revision to the request for use variance to add a timetable for reverting temporary parking to shovel-ready development site within 30 days of the opening of the Garrahy Garage. And it was also agreed that the Commission and the JDA and other stakeholders would continue meeting on safety issues, operating hours and supervision and possible landscaping.
For a full report on the Public Hearing and Commission action taken, read Kate Bramson's article in the Providence Journal HERE.