Three weeks, we read of three proposals for street closures. This time County Executive Picente is asking the City of Utica to close Park Avenue between John and Blandina Streets to create a parking lot.
"I don't want this to drag on," Picente said. "This is not by any means a quick fix; it's a long-term solution for downtown."
Sorry, Mr. Picente, but we residents and people who work downtown do not need a traffic study to tell us that we will be seriously inconvenienced by this proposal. That block that you want to close is heavily traveled. Saying that you will do a traffic study is an admission that you are making the proposal without knowing its impact. (This seems to be a familiar theme in both City and County Government). And not wanting it to "drag on?" Sounds like your mind is already made up. Besides, why should we trust you to know what is best for a "long term solution for downtown?" The County has demonstrated a lack of concern for Utica and its people by sending them its s*** from its overflowing sewer facilities, letting the Utica Library go to seed, trying to send its water out of the area, etc., etc. Had enough?
Yes, more downtown parking is sorely needed. . . .especially around the C.O.B. And Utica has lost a parking garage at the State Office Building. The City is proposing a new parking garage. If more spaces are needed, the County should kick in and expand the City's plans . . . or, perhaps, team up with the State to build a new garage for the employees at both buildings.
But placing a parking lot in the middle of the thoroughfare between Chancellor and Steuben Parks will disrupt the axis between the two. The layout as a diagonal between two small parks is something one sees in Paris or in Washington, DC. It is an example of 19th Century urban design that could be made beautiful again with landscaping. A parking lot will make it look like ... Consumer Square in New Hartford.
But this is UTICA. And it CAN come back.
(Unless we give it so many blockages that it needs a bypass)