Monday, December 29, 2008

Party Patter about Parking

“There is no parking problem in Ellicott City.”

I was at a holiday party last week, overeating and overindulging as previously noted, sitting around a fire with a diverse mix of locals. The topic of discussion was the health and welfare of the businesses in the historic district of Ellicott City. Inevitably, the discussion shifted to parking. The party guest who made the aforementioned statement regarding parking is a stakeholder with a heavily vested interest in the health and welfare of the old mill town.

I won’t mention any specific names here. It was a party. I was a guest. I was open about the fact that I wrote a blog and I wanted everyone to speak freely, not for publication. I further disclosed that I had written a column in the October issue of The Business Monthly about this very issue. I happen to believe that there is a parking issue in Ellicott City.

And yet I told this guest that I agreed with him. Today, given the number of vacant storefronts and the traffic choking parallel parking on Main Street, parking is not that bad in the historic district. On the other hand, if we are talking about the health and welfare of Ellicott City, we need to be thinking about the future. The future of Ellicott City could easily be more. More meaning more restaurants, galleries and boutiques and lodging bringing more shoppers and more tourists. With over 2 million people within a twenty minute drive of Maryland Avenue and Main Street, Ellicott City has the potential to be much more economically vibrant than it is today.

To get there the town will need a better parking situation and better traffic flow on Main Street. Eliminating parking on Main Street would free up space for outside dining and a more attractive streetscape and remove the current bottlenecks caused by parallel parking. This was actually envisioned in the Ellicott City Master Plan which was published in 2003.

So yes, today there is no parking problem in Ellicott City but there are other major problems that more parking would certainly fix.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog, very enjoyable!
I think at the minimum there should be restrictions on parking on main street. I think during the times of 4.30pm - 7pm there should be no parking at all allowed on main street at the least. Often around these times a mile or so long backup occurs on Frederick road that can take forever to get thru.