Friday, December 11, 2009

if we're going to build a parking deck, please oh please - let's do it right

from Friday's Business-Journal, on a new parking deck to be potentially constructed downtown along Commerce Street:
"Under the [2010 omnibus] appropriations act, which awaits a Senate vote and approval by the president, the 17th congressional district would receive a total $7.945 million, including $450,000 for the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp. to develop a 200-space parking facility to support Phase 4 of the Tech Block downtown. The deck would feature a pedestrian walkway to the $16 million Tech Block project, Ryan said.

Last month, the CIC authorized a financial and engineering feasibility study of a parking deck on the site of a surface lot that now accommodates 255 vehicles. The proposed lot, which could have 600 to 1,000 spaces, would be available for downtown workers and students at Youngstown State University, the CIC said at its November meeting."
In the world of parking decks, there are poorly designed parking decks and well-thought out parking decks.

Youngstown needs a good parking deck . . . with window space for design and limited commercial space on the street level for capacity growth.

Just think, plopping down a monolithic structure with no street interaction effectively creates a dull and lifeless pedestrian zone around the perimeter of the building.

In the space around the perimeter of the structure, there could be spaces for some amenities needed in the downtown neighborhood. For example: a dry cleaning business is needed, in addition to a convenience store or a bodega with basic sundries.

Here are some pictures of what I'm talking about in a recent trip to Baton Rouge:

In a nutshell, we are going to place a parking garage in the downtown which will be in that spot for the next 30 years.

please . . .

Let's do it right and incorporate some long-range planning.

- - -

btw, Baton Rouge also has a Kress Building it is attempting to renovate. Check it out:



southwest said...

I have some great images of parking decks that have been well integrated into the existing urban fabric.

Anonymous said...

I hope the planners/designers do their research. Look at as many possibilities as they can. Putting some needed stores on the ground floor would be ideal. The downtown lacks a deli/small grocer as you stated. As long as it doesnt' look like a stack of concrete slabs and pillars. Things need to look inviting and make people want to gather. do we need the parking? Yes but please dont rush to slap it up!

Amanda Smith-Teutsch said...

Have you ever seen the flying tires on the outside of the parking deck across the street from City Hall? It has those street-level shops you're talking about, but hasnot been well maintained it seems.

Amanda Smith-Teutsch said...

Have you seen the parking deck across the street from City Hall? It has street-level shops in it - not well maintained and mostly vacant at this point - and also cool flying tire finials on top. I call them finials because I know not what they actually are. But it's a neat building, or it could be if it was in better condition.

Joe Lowry said...

I used to live in Reston, Virginia which was one of the first communities to latch onto the 'town center' concept. One of the great ideas to come out of it was exactly what you were referring to, which is a parking garage on levels 2-4 with mixed commercial on the ground level. There are several of these structures in Reston, with a mix of restaurants, shops and businesses. It makes for an easily accessible, dense area for commerce.

In a related note, I wanted to let you know that I revived 'Youngstown Pride' from the dead end of the blogosphere. You can check it out at

Mike Prelee said...

Great idea. Downtown really doesn't need more inaccessible monolithic structures at street level.

John Morris said...

Eeeeeeeew! That's what a good one looks like!

Obviously, I don't think a penny of taxpayer funds should go into this, but then obviously I don't live in Youngstown.

I seriously doubt this is a good or even a needed investment in that it both makes it easier and more atractive to live away from the downtown while, at the same time reducing the walkability and quality of life for nearby residents.

First of all-- why is the thing you show like at least two normal blocks in length? a far better idea might be to have several smaller tall garages and perhaps build them out more slowly.

As to the chance of bottom floor businesses actually surviving in a mostly dead building like this on a superblock --close to zero.

But I'm from NYC, what do we know? Heck, we shut down Broadway to cars.