I’ve been quiet over the past few months, working on my house, contemplating Mankato’s existence as a “regional center” and being busy trying to convince people that there is indeed no war on cars. But more so than that, I’ve been lazy. Recycling my post from my semi-regular gig over at Strong Towns and passing it off as original content for you, the readers of Key City. Today I say no more! I have a beef with something kato-centric and I’m going to air it out.
That stupid ramp that flanks the cherry street “plaza”. For the love of all that’s holy, tear that thing down and put something, anything worthwhile there. The idea that we have a “plaza” whose one wall is dedicated to sleeping cars is absolutely antithetical to the idea of anything urban, because when you see the great public spaces of the world they make sure that they have abundant parking right next to it.
The parking lot isn’t even necessary! It’s completely free (which is my first grievance) so it’s not generating any revenue, they just built a brand new one a half block over which is, from what I can tell every time i’m there, totally underutilized, and the ramp sits empty for most times outside of the weekend.
There is one, and I will make this clear, ONE saving grace to that parking lot. It was designed to have a building put on top of it. I’m not sure when that was built, but I assume it was the early 2000s. We’ve gone at least a decade now with no development on top of it, either we wait it out and subsidize something to take that spot, or we tear it down and give the market the chance to snap it up and given the development that has happened downtown and inevitably will continue, someone will jump at it.
Though the ramp may have been a type of godsend when it was built because it alleviated some perceived parking “problem” it has since outlived its usefulness and the city is missing out on valuable tax money by leaving it alone. Heck, you probably wouldn’t need to tear it down, you would just need to retrofit it to put something in there, using the existing footings and structure to build something worthwhile.
Any way you slice the cake, that ramp doesn’t need to exist, there’s plenty of parking in and around the area as proven by the THREE giant parking structures all within a stone’s throw of Front St.
This would be a good chance to show a commitment to downtown, to give us a real plaza and to generate more things to do for pedestrians and more taxes for the city.
Oh, and in case you’re curious, here’s what it replaced (the far building, but the near one was also torn down and is now, you guessed it, a parking lot.)