It didn’t make any of the local papers but Eureka businessman Don Davenport stood up at the July 21 meeting of the Eureka City Council and made an impassioned plea for more parking in Henderson Center. Mr Davenport and I have had our differences in the past, but on this subject he’s absolutely right. Last Monday I tried to meet a friend who volunteers at the Cancer Society and drove around for fifteen minutes trying to find parking. I finally resorted to the Rite-Aid lot, where I squeezed into a space that was already occupied by a scooter. Pathetic!
I asked everyone I could buttonhole what the problem was and no one knew. Here’s a wild guess: there’s not enough parking in Henderson Center!! And with two new restaurants (Zöe and Diver Bar& Grill) slated to open in the next few weeks, the situation in Henderson Center is only going to get worse.
It’s no better downtown. I routinely drive around Old Town looking for parking and go elsewhere when I can’t find it. And I have a disabled placard! That means I’m not just looking for marked disabled parking, but ANY parking because I can use the placard in any marked space. I still end up driving elsewhere because there’s not enough parking.
What are our city officials doing about this problem? Making it worse! Mr. Rob Holmlund, the city’s Community Development Director, has drawn a bead on the few available spaces and would like to see some of them set aside for “parklets”. Thank God the current proposal is only for four such spaces and we’ll all be curious to see if the property owners and merchants in Old Town really benefit from clearing space in front of their businesses. Considering the large population of homeless and poorly-housed folks within a block or two of the proposed “parklets”, will it really be shoppers who fill the spaces? We’ll see.
I believe Mr Holmlund’s well-intentioned proposal would be more suitable for Los Altos than for Eureka.
Ditto for his similarly well-intentioned desire to preserve the neighborhood markets of yesteryear. Yes, neighborhood markets are a great convenience but most of them are just getting by. I miss Songer’s and Cannam’s too but nostalgia won’t pay the bills. I wish Handee Market and the others all the best, and hope they survive but if they survive it won’t be because of city planning. It will be because they’re filling a need. And they have nearby parking.