Final Day for Public Comment on Downtown Parking

February 5th, 2007

If you couldn’t make it to the meeting on downtown parking, you can submit comments by mail to Public Works Director Susie Johnson, City of Bloomington, P.O. Box 100, Bloomington, IN 47401 or by e-mail to  Today is the last day for comments! Note that parking defined at the meeting extends to non-automobile parking including bicycles!
A recap of the meeting from the Herald-Times:

Downtown parking forum brings out dozens of speakers
Public input still being taken as part of city-commissioned study

By Bethany Nolan
331-4373 |
January 26, 2007

Dozens of people spoke Thursday night at a public forum about parking in downtown Bloomington.

The forum was conducted by Walker Parking Consultants as part of a $55,000 study commissioned by city officials. The study is expected to be completed in February.

Jeff Colvin, a consultant with Walker, said Thursday his firm will complete five tasks with the study: Offer a needs assessment, do a parking policy and system review, offer an analysis of alternatives, give preliminary financial figures and host Thursday’s public forum.

“We’re very early in the process, in the information-gathering phase,” he said. “Public input is vital.”

During the forum, residents called for a park-and-ride system to make it easier to get downtown without a car, and for additional bicycle parking.

Others asked that free spots around the square be evaluated and perhaps turned into metered spaces.

Buff Brown, of Bloomington Transportation Options for People, offered the results of a study the local group did that showed three of the city’s downtown parking garages are underutilized and usually only half-full.

The city is subsidizing parking in those garages to the tune of nearly a half-million dollars annually, he said.

City council member Steve Volan said he’d gotten similar numbers from city officials, saying, “No matter how you slice it, you’ll find we’re subsidizing (parking).”

Others gave personal examples of downtown parking problems.Cass Owens, associate director at the Monroe County Public Library, said about 3,000 people a day visit the downtown facility.

She referred to parking as the “p-word,” and said a lack of spaces was the No. 1 customer complaint. People often come with small children and heavy bags of books, prompting a need for parking close to the facility, she said.

Uptown Cafe owner Michael Cassady said, “Parking’s been a big issue. It’s a constant.”

Colvin said comments received at the forum and those received at the city’s Public Works Department prior to Feb. 5 will be taken into consideration as part of the study.

Public Comment on Parking

January 24th, 2007

From the Herald-Times:

Public is invited to talk parking

The consultant studying downtown parking invites the public to comment and share ideas Thursday night at City Hall, 401 N. Morton St.

Walker Parking Consultants expects to present the completed study to the city next month.

People not able to attend the 5:30-7:30 p.m. meeting in council chambers can contact the public works department at 349–3411 to offer an opinion.

Read as background:

Empty Parking Garages from The Bloomington Alternative

October 22, 2006

by Elizabeth Dilts
A new study released by the citizens group Bloomington Transportation Options for People (BTOP) shows that the city’s three downtown parking garages are vastly underused.

According to the study, when the parking garages were at their peak fullness, there were still 591 empty spaces.

“It shows that the parking garages are not well utilized,” said BTOP Director Laurence Brown.

The study finds fault with the city’s parking policies at a time when the Kruzan administration is proposing new regulations for downtown businesses and considering a new $4.7 million, taxpayer-subsidized parking garage for Finelight Communications and Strategic Marketing.
“We do not need another parking garage,” said Brown. “And we don’t need parking requirements downtown, either.”

Taxpayers lose hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on these facilities, he said.

“The city is subsidizing those parking garages to the tune of probably over half a million dollars a year,” he said, “and they’re half empty.”

*** City officials, to whom BTOP provided its data, would not comment on the study.

Assistant Director for Economic Development Danise Alano said she had only seen portions of it. Public Works Director Susie Johnson said she had not yet seen it. Deputy Mayor James McNamara could not be reached.

***The study was conducted from Tuesday, Sept. 26 through Monday, Oct. 2. Four recorders walked through each garage and marked the spaces filled in leased parking spaces, permitted parking spaces and metered spaces at 5 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The Fourth and Walnut garage was the only one that ever approached three-quarters full – 71.6 percent at 10 a.m. on Friday morning.

The city leases parking spaces for either 24 hours per day, seven days per week for $675 for a year, or for 12 hours per day, five days per week for $550 a year.

“If you talk to the city, they would say all of these spaces are leased,” said Brown. “What is true is that the way the city is managing the parking garages needs to be re-evaluated.”

The study says, on average, the 24/7 and 12/5 leased parking spaces in the Seventh and Morton garage were, at their peak, less than two-thirds and half full respectively.

Neither the 24/7 nor the 12/5 leased spaces in the Walnut Street garage were utilized more than half the time.

“A reserved space is just unnecessary,” said Brown. “Virtually what you get as a result of reserving space is about half of the spaces are empty.”

*** The garage with the highest usage for leased, permitted and metered spaces was the Fourth and Walnut Garage.

Leased spaces there were over half full every weekday. The permitted spaces were near three-quarters full two days out of the week, and the metered spaces were over half full most of the time.

“In the Fourth Street parking garage, there are areas where the city does things right,” according to Brown. “That means they sell a permit, and they let you park in any number of permitted spots, and that’s an efficient way to do it because they sell more permits than they have spaces, kind of like IU does.”

There are 173 permitted spaces in the Fourth Street garage and 207 permits were sold by the city.

“Even that section only gets up to 75 percent full, and there are still almost 50 empty spaces even at the peak hour,” said Brown.

***BTOP’s Eve Corrigan cites studies by UCLA professor Donald Shoup recommending market-based street parking rates. This idea brings metered parking into the 21st century with meters that allow unlimited parking for a fee that can be pre-paid or charged to a credit card.

Corrigan also disagrees with more property developed into parking.

“There are a lot of things we can do to make things better,” she said. “We’ve got more than enough, and we just need to manage not only the way our parking garages are set up but also our street parking.”

Brown hopes to see change.

“As a result of having empty spaces, you have to build more spaces,” Brown said. “They don’t realize that they’re hurting themselves.”

And don’t forget the purpose of this parking study:

Good-bye Ladyman’s from The Bloomington Alternative

Interesting Quotes

September 8th, 2006

I’m planning on doing a fairly large brain dump of my recent readings and thoughts that started earlier this summer, but for now I found these quotes online to be fairly interesting:

From an article from about Pope Benedict’s message to the 20th Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace in Assisi right now:

Violence is not caused by faith itself, the pope said, but “by the cultural limits with which it is lived and with which it develops in time.”

I find this thought intriguing: that violence comes about due to the fact that culture keeps us from living our faith. But at the same time this idea seems rudimentary because of course it is our culture that does not promote a faith that radically opposes violence. Although faith should be enough to overcome these limits to live out the peaceful ideals that religions are founded upon. I think that culture is partially to blame and is a cop-out at the same time. A number of radical people will always live out their peaceful faith, but I guess in order for a peaceful revolution to come culture needs to be perturbed to make it more socially acceptable for more to do so.

I found the following from an article on Anarchy in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company (found online in a number of places including quite amusing:

Thus far the anarchists seem to have no central organization

Maria Pictures

August 28th, 2006

I’ve been slow on getting some pictures of my new daughter, Maria, up on the web. But linked below are my favorites (so far).


August 11th, 2006

Welcome to Hopefully this will act as a space for me to ramble, discern, and vent my thoughts on being a new father, computer programming, and radical Catholic pacifistic anarchism. Thanks go out to geoff for setting this blog up for me.