Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Downtown Plan...For Ellicott City

While much of the county is focused on the future of Columbia's Town Center, I think there needs to be a hard look at Ellicott City as well.

I am speaking of the historic district not the great amorphous area that makes up the Ellicott City zip codes.

Historic Ellicott City is a rare gem. It makes sense to preserve and protect it. The best way to achieve that is to make it economically strong.

That is not to say that it isn't doing well. In some cases it is doing quite well and in others it is falling short. The main challenge continues to parking. Without adequate parking it will stagnate.

I know there were once plans to float a bond issue in order to fund a parking garage behind the Post Office but I don't know what ever became of that.

With the addition of a parking garage (or two), perhaps on street parking along Main Street could be eliminated (at least on one side) and the sidewalks widened. This would allow restaurants to offer some outdoor seating and reduce the traffic tie ups that occur when people attempt to maneuver into a Main Street parking space. You have to admit that parallel parking skills vary widely.

Wider sidewalks would also provide an opportunity for street trees and benches. Some older and disabled folks might enjoy an occasional bench to rest on as they navigate the hilly topography of the old town.

Any other thoughts or ideas?


Anonymous said...

I read about parking problems all the time on Main Street and maybe I am lucky but I have never run into a problem except for the times I am feeling lazy. Parking seems sufficient to me between the lot at the top, lot behind Tersiguel's, sidewalk parking, parking next to the Phoenix and lot behind Trolly Stop. I have been there at all hours every day of the week. A parking garage doesn't seem necessary to me but like I said I hear and read so many freakin complaints I must be lucky(or maybe not as lazy as others).

wordbones said...


It isn't really an issue of the amount of parking (although I have encountered times when finding a space in any of the lots was "challenging") it is more about where the parking is.

If we eliminate some of the Main Street parking as I suggest, there will be a need to make it up somewhere.

I once asked the owner of Jordan's why they don't offer valet parking. The response was that there wasn't enough off street parking available. That is a problem for a fine dining establishment.

Tersiguels doesn't face the same problem because they have the large public lot right behind them.

Anonymous said...

Wider sidewalks and trees would be very welcome, but putting a parking garage behind the Post Office would definitely reduce the historic nature of the immediate area.

Instead, if a parking garage is truly needed, perhaps a better location would be a bit more remote from historic Main Street and have free shuttles from the garage to Main Street.

wordbones said...

I agree that a massive parking garage would be a challenge to incorporate into the historic district. You only need look to Gettysburg to see how it can be done successfully.

Most people don't like shuttles. It's the waiting thing. We are an impaient people you know.