Comment on Leavenworth's Downtown Parking Study

Mayor and City Coucil Members,
I think I represent a number of neighbors who wonder about downtown parking and about proposed growth that drives it. We are concerned that the City’s intentions to supply future parking needs to satisfy growth do not reflect what we, the residents want or need.
We see that our town is growing and preparing for future growth automatically! There are no apparent growth controls, at least none that seem to be working. We see the City Council allowing and encouraging more and more hotels and more special events. And inevitably, the City is now seeking parking solutions to support growth that no one talked about or voted for or controls.
Below is an excerpt from the document “­Proposed Guiding Principles for Downtown Parking Management October 2017 (v2)”.
         6. PLANNING FOR FUTURE SUPPLY
         a) Planning & Funding. Planning for future supply growth will be strategic and routinely evaluated to ensure the City is ready to respond to growth, recognizing that assembling funding for new growth takes time and will require a varied package of funding resources (and partnerships). The City must plan for its supply growth needs and initiate long-term planning efforts to assemble funding and partnerships necessary to that growth.
We see that our City is promising to “ensure the City is ready to respond to growth”. And that “The City must plan for its supply growth needs”. But why are we doing this?
Why does the Council assume that we, the residents, want more people, more traffic and air pollution, more crowds? And most importantly, there will be less Public Safety should there ever be any situation that requires immediate evacuation or extensive medical response.
Public Safety is the primary responsibility that you were elected to maintain and enhance. Have you weighed that carefully as you prepare for further packing of more weekend tourists into our densely crowded City?
Why invite us to tonight’s presentation on the Downtown Parking Study, why spend tens of thousands of dollars on it, when you haven’t taken into account that we don’t want more “growth”? We fear that you are destroying the very “family friendly, small town feel” (also excerpted from the same document) that we value and want to sustain at all costs. That excerpt is small comfort given the plans that we fear are in the making.
Lastly, if you are considering a dedicated parking structure, I represent many folks who are absolutely against it, an affront to any small town. Your consultants may say that it is the most “efficient” and “least expensive” etc.  But it is a Number One crime magnet. And it will be vastly underutilized for the majority of the time. Why build one when we only need it a few weekends a year – when planning for events differently, to be more spread out over time and across our area, could solve that problem?
Why not engage us, the City residents, in a conversation about whether we want to “grow” or maintain our small-town status instead – even and especially, on weekends?
Sincerely,
Ann Crosby
Leavenworth
 

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