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Parking, the bane of Hartford's existence?

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Gone are the dark days of the mid

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So I'll probably be in the minority, but I don't find the state of parking that bad... What city doesn't have parking issues?? Sure Hartford could have better mass transit, removing the need for more parking and cars in the city, but they don't. That would be the best fix for parking issues, not more lots or garages. Remove the need for cars... Downtown Hartford is condensed and walkable there are numerous parking garages on the fringe of the downtown. I live and work in the city and really the only times I've had issues are Uconn men games and big concerts (madonna, u2, etc..). Just plan a little and you'll be all right. I think the fact that we are a mostly suburban state we feel we should have parking at the doorstep. Walk a little, what's downtown six blocks wide??

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I didn't include it in the article because I wanted to keep it general, but I was inspired to write this by an aricle in the latest issue of the Hartford Business Journal (Its currently on thier website. See:

"Grunberg Says CCEDA Shuns Parking Plan"). The basic premise of the article is that Grunberg needs to build a parking garage in order to make the condo project feasible.

I'm of the belief, and I know that many others on this website are too, that one of the biggest things holding Hartford back is the ridiculous amount of surface parking lots in the city. Several proposals have been put forward to fix this issue, the most popular being to tax land at a much higher rate than buildings. Its not clear, however, whethere the State Legislature is going to allow the city to do this, even if there is the political will to do so in the city.

Its easy to vilify the surface lot operators and they certianly do deserve alot of the flak that they take. But the truth of the matter is, that there is a legitamate need for the services that they provide. As an example, I live just outside the city and bank at the Wachovia on Main St. and its often difficult to find a spot anywhere near the bank. I like being in the city as much as possible, but the parking makes it difficult.

My opinion is that one way to solve the parking problem is to drastically increase the amount of on street parking. Although it alone won't solve the problem, those familar with New Urbanist principles are aware of the many benefits of this solution.

I'd love if this article was able to start a discussion that generates some new and creative insights into the issue of parking in the city of Hartford.

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There is a perfect spot for a parking garage on the corner of Asylum and Spence Streets across (west) from Union Station. This area is a surface parking lot that backs up to I-84.

A garage at this location is within easy walking distance of any business located west of Trumbull (including the HCC) and would also fuel the entertainment district near the station.

Besides making parking available to employees and vistiors to the west side of downtown, a parking garage at this location would make many of the surface lots on this side of the city obsolete. It would also provide easy access for events at Bushnell Park. A win-win for the city.

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There is a perfect spot for a parking garage on the corner of Asylum and Spence Streets across (west) from Union Station. This area is a surface parking lot that backs up to I-84.

A garage at this location is within easy walking distance of any business located west of Trumbull (including the HCC) and would also fuel the entertainment district near the station.

Besides making parking available to employees and vistiors to the west side of downtown, a parking garage at this location would make many of the surface lots on this side of the city obsolete. It would also provide easy access for events at Bushnell Park. A win-win for the city.

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I fully agree that less parking is more. As hard it is for a suburbanite to imagine or an urban business person trying to attract a suburbanite to the city the less parking the better.

The loads of downtown parking lots are prime development sites and even if they werent made for development they are prime spaces for green space...we are a city in New England.

Sadly Hartford does need some parking ....I believe in the form of (1) as much on street parking as possible and (2) built up garages that have ground level retail space. We do not need all these obnoxious surface parking lots. Also these parking lots are bigger then lots in Manhattan. The same parking companies squish cars in on lifters into tiny spaces on surface parking lots in Manhattan but cant do the same in Hartford.

If Hartford had a mass transit system we would be able to draw in more people who wouldnt have a car with them and thus need less parking but we dont so we need to devise another plan...maybe mass transit is something we should work on

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I fully agree that less parking is more. As hard it is for a suburbanite to imagine or an urban business person trying to attract a suburbanite to the city the less parking the better.

The loads of downtown parking lots are prime development sites and even if they werent made for development they are prime spaces for green space...we are a city in New England.

Sadly Hartford does need some parking ....I believe in the form of (1) as much on street parking as possible and (2) built up garages that have ground level retail space. We do not need all these obnoxious surface parking lots. Also these parking lots are bigger then lots in Manhattan. The same parking companies squish cars in on lifters into tiny spaces on surface parking lots in Manhattan but cant do the same in Hartford.

If Hartford had a mass transit system we would be able to draw in more people who wouldnt have a car with them and thus need less parking but we dont so we need to devise another plan...maybe mass transit is something we should work on

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If you ever fly over Hartford during the day, dowtown looks like one big parking lot because of the number of surface lots and garage roofs. There is more than enough parking currently downtown. As someone mentioned above... walk a little. Suburbanites have to realize that you are not going to be able to park at the doorstep of where you want to go everytiime you are downtown. There is no way you can tell me that between on street parking, lots and garages you can't find parking within a two block radius of where you want to go. There is literally at least one lot or garage on every block downtown.

Downtown parking needs to be better planned. More on street parking and another city garage as mentioned above. Surface lots need to be taxed at a higher rate than other properties and new parking garages need to include retail at street level like the Pearl St garage.

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Oh mass transit would be a dream come true. Imagine the proposed North/South commuter line, and I realize the absurd expense of this proposal, but imagine a world where there were transportation (trolly, subway, you name it) along Farmington Avenue from West Hartford Center into downtown Hartford and along Franklin Avenue from the South End.

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If you ever fly over Hartford during the day, dowtown looks like one big parking lot because of the number of surface lots and garage roofs. There is more than enough parking currently downtown. As someone mentioned above... walk a little. Suburbanites have to realize that you are not going to be able to park at the doorstep of where you want to go everytiime you are downtown. There is no way you can tell me that between on street parking, lots and garages you can't find parking within a two block radius of where you want to go. There is literally at least one lot or garage on every block downtown.

Downtown parking needs to be better planned. More on street parking and another city garage as mentioned above. Surface lots need to be taxed at a higher rate than other properties and new parking garages need to include retail at street level like the Pearl St garage.

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I agree people should walk more downtown and not feel like they have to park right in front of their destination, but here are two problems:

1. Disconnected destinations. It's irritating to have to walk across a deserted area or in front of deserted storefronts. Take the path along Asylum from Mayor Mike's to Hot Tomatos. The intersection with High Street is horrible--we need stores in their to make people feel comfortable making that walk. Otherwise, people will stay on one side or the other depending on where they park.

2. Safety. Folks want to park right in front of their destination because time spent walking is time spent vulnerable to panhandlers and would-be muggers alike. I know Hartford well and feel pretty comfortable downtown (shooting at TKs last week notwithstanding), but I don't blame suburbanites who come into the city for being less comfortable. Put tons of cops on the beat downtown, like you see in Manhattan. This should be a money priority. Even more of a priority than new parking, if you ask me! People have to feel safe in Hartford--abdundantly safe--then see where this city goes. I think it's the biggest drawback, and it's the one that exclusively requires public money. Private developers can build condos, parking lots, and stores ... but we need the city to provide police.

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Parking in the city is a joke. It has always been the way that legislators grease the palms of their friends. We need an investigation or culpability to illustrate the problem. There are about 3 locations where a nice parking garage could go, with retail on the outside that would vastly improve the parking situation. Then we could plan development for the parking lots. Surface parking is the biggest waste of space in the city, bar none.

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I usually park on the street most of the time, but the meter maid nazis are so quick to ticket that I am now trying to avoid on street parking.

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Adding to what everyones else has said, I like walking within the city. The problem arises when huge areas of streetscape are broken up by surface parking lots. Then it feels like I'm walking through post-war berlin, not a thriving downtown. And while I agree with others comments that suburbanites need to recognize that walking is a part of city life, I think that statement needs to be qualified somewhat. If I am in the city for a night out or an event than absolutely, yes, I have no issue with parking several blocks away from where I am going. If, however, I am running a common, everyday errand, than I think that its reasonable to be able to park within a block or two of my destination, especially without having to pay several dollars to use a lot a garage or parking lot. That is where I think the need for more on-street parking is huge. If you can find a spot within a block or two and pop 50 cents into a meter it makes it easier for more people to come into the city and at the end of the day that can only be a benefit.

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I just don't think another subsidized garage is the answer. This past weekend I parked in a nearly empty morgan street garage for the day (10 bucks). It took me less than 5 minutes to walk to the civic center, another 5 minutes to the bars near union place and ten minutes back to my car. I wouldn't be able to do that in most cities. Maybe if you take one of the surface lots away, build a garage and promise me buildings where there are other surface lots, I'd agree to a new parking garage. Where did people park in the seventies when there were stores, less surface lots, less parking garages and more people living in Hartford?

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There is absolutely no need for more parking garages in Hartford. It is so easy to find a spot it's ridiculous.

The one thing Hartford could do is have street parking on every single street, ALL THE TIME, except where there are bus stops.

Also, to the person who claims the expense of commuter rail is absurd, do you have any idea how much subsidies go to the highways? 100 million to fix a stretch I-84 which will probably be torn down in 10 years?

The focus should not be on parking. TAKE THE BUS.

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Almost every major artery in the city would benefit by reviving the trolley lines or implementing light rail. Imagine Wetherfield Ave into Wetherfield, Main Street into Windsor Center, Albany into Bishops corner, etc. The potential would be mind blowing. I'm sure many suburbanites would stop driving into the city and take transit.

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There is absolutely no need for more parking garages in Hartford. It is so easy to find a spot it's ridiculous.

The one thing Hartford could do is have street parking on every single street, ALL THE TIME, except where there are bus stops.

Also, to the person who claims the expense of commuter rail is absurd, do you have any idea how much subsidies go to the highways? 100 million to fix a stretch I-84 which will probably be torn down in 10 years?

The focus should not be on parking. TAKE THE BUS.

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If you look at thriving retail and commercial districts, there are usually numerous parking garages within blocks of each other. Whether it's the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade, Greektown in Detroit , Michigan Ave in Chicago, South Beach or restaurant row in Bethesda, Maryland,they all have one thin in common. Plenty o parking in multiple public parking garages. Some also offer public transit.

The FIRST THING that Hartford needs is a more subsidized public parking garages at very low prices.

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Putting a trolley would be just as useful as painting our buses with gold leaf. How in the world would that be useful? It would even be slower than a bus because they cannot change lanes and everybody knows how poor driving skills are in Hartford, imagine these idiots dealing with trolleys. If it's not on the rail line, it's just useless.

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Again, I echo my earlier comments, but only because I think it's appropriate in response to: (1) parking at Morgan Street and (2) taking the bus.

(1) I agree the Morgan Street garage is reasonable both in price and proximity. My complaint, however, is that you have to walk up very sketchy Talcott Street. I am ok with this; so are you apparently. But I do get why others are not, including my girlfriend, whom I'm not sure I really want walking alone on that street after dark. Safety should be the priority.

(2) The bus. Same complaint. It's a pretty good system, with pretty frequent service, but I understand why some people don't feel safe taking the bus. It mainly services the poor, most of which are good, hardworking people, but some of which are some really sketchy dudes. Also, the bus stops running at what, 11 pm? Midnight? Not late enough if you're going to come in and bar hop.

As an aside, I love the Star Shuttle ... but it stops early also. Again, if I park and take the shuttle, I've got a curfew, which is annoying. So I want to park right down town so that (1) don't miss the bus and (2) don't have to take a walk that isn't long but doesn't feel safe either.

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Rich people is another huge need for Hartford. Let's do what we can to get 'e and keep 'em in town.

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Rich people is another huge need for Hartford. Let's do what we can to get 'e and keep 'em in town.

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Of course you subsidize cars coming into the city. It's a loss leader.

Mikel, we have to get you to take an economics course.

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