Will become this:
Just days after confirmation that a nearly billion dollar development in the downtown of a struggling northeastern city was going to move forward, an employee of a governmental institution funded through tax dollars expropriated from private individuals and businesses wrote this letter to the editor:
I work at Juvenile Court in Springfield and pay $75 per month to park my car on Bliss Street. I was informed that I have 60 days to find another parking place due to the casino being built across the street from the courthouses on State Street.
Between the two courthouses, there are approximately 500 employees. All of the parking lots in the area will be gone permanently while the casino is being built. Where are the employees, as well as the general public who need access to the courts supposed to park?
The mayor, along with MGM, must address this problem immediately. Although the casino will add many jobs, what about the people that are already employed and will have no place to park?
When I first started working in downtown Springfield, there was a large parking lot in the north end under 91, and parking was free. A shuttle (the Ten Center) would travel down Main Street every 20 minutes and it would cost a dime to take the bus to and from your car. Perhaps something along those lines could be put in use again for people to gain access to downtown Springfield.
If you want people to come downtown and enjoy Springfield during this construction phase, the parking issue needs to be addressed immediately.
Acres of unproductive and underutilized space will be developed. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars will be paid directly to the entity (the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) which funds her salary. But the developer and the mayor of the city should take on themselves the responsibility of finding her a place to park her car? I don’t blame her. An expectation, an idiotic, ridiculous, unsustainable, irrational, and juvenile expectation, but an expectation nevertheless, has been created by suburban sprawl that it is the responsibility of urban places to accommodate private automobiles at little or no cost to the owner.
She has a job. She has a job in the center of the region. She has a job which conforms to a traditional schedule. She can pay to park her car at any number of remaining, underutilized, public or private garages and pay whatever the going rate is for the privilege. Alternatively, she could use the public transportation system whose hub is located just blocks from her place of employment and which passes within feet of her place of work. She can move to a residence within walking distance of the courthouse. Or she can quit her job. For people needing to access the court for reasons other than employment, again, the region’s public transportation system is centered blocks away.
You can have a vibrant city, or you can have a city where it’s cheap and convenient to park your car. The city, and eventually the private sector, needs to get out of the business of making itself unproductive (wasting potential productivity on car storage) and focus on making the downtown such a great place to be that people will give car storage the level of concern it deserves.
The proper response would be “Yeah, good luck with that.” I can’t wait to get there.