Thursday, October 09, 2008

In This Month’s Business Monthly

When someone first mentioned putting a structured parking facility in Ellicott City a few years back, I immediately thought of the existing public parking lot behind the former post office on Main Street, otherwise known as Lot D. It is large enough of a space and the existing topography seems to favor it.
It turns out that I was not the only one who thought this. The 2003 Ellicott City Master Plan also recognized this as the proper location for a parking facility and called for it to be built in five years.

Five years later not only is the parking facility not built it is not even designed.

What’s up with that?

It turns out that a very vocal minority of the businesses that surround Lot D are opposed to the parking facility in this location because of the disruption it would cause to their businesses during construction. Some of them are promoting an alternative location behind the former firehouse.

While I can certainly empathize with those businesses it does seem to be a case of cutting your nose to spite your face. Though it will undoubtedly disrupt some business while it is under construction in the long term it will benefit all businesses in the old town. The delay this focus on an alternative location has caused means that the earliest a parking facility in Ellicott City could become a reality is sometime in the year 2011.

The wheels of change turn very slowly in the old mill town.

You can read this month’s column here.

5 comments:

Dave W said...

I am involved with a couple of groups that have monthly Happy Hours at different locations in Howard County and we have basically stopped having Happy Hours on Main Street because people complain about the difficulty of parking in Ellicott City.

If these businesses would be willing to take the short-term pain, I think they would realize the long-term gain as more people would be willing to come to Main Street knowing the parking would not be nearly as bad as it is now.

JessieX said...

Ditto. While I do think I've gone to EC/Main Street more in the last few years than I have in the last 10, I am wary of planning group gatherings there because of the parking.

Tom said...

"Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."
Yogi Bera

PZGURU said...

At the risk of giving the blog host a heart attack - I have to agree. See Dennis - I don't always disagree with you.

Lot D does lend itself better to a parking structure. The upper deck would be practically at grade level with the road surface of Old Columbia Pike. So, instead of driving up the existing exit ramp, at a 30% slope (maybe exaggerated a little), vehicles would simply exit, stop, turn, and be on their way.

The only businesses I can think of that would be impacted in terms of not being visible anymore, would be the 3-4 businesses occupying that tiny little out-building at the back of the lot, and the Auction house (can't remember the name) entrance at the lower rear of the main building that fronts up onto Main Street. I'm not sure how you maintain their visibility, but the additional parking would surely help make it easier for their patrons to get in and out.

wordbones said...

be still my heart!
-wb