Editor's column about parking on Main Street.

I have a thing about parking on Main Street. And I have a new reason to think about it. I’m losing my off-street parking place to progress.

I like to park across the street from our office, in the paved lot by First Security Bank’s drive-thru. Well, the city used to own that lot, making it a public space, but now the bank bought it. I understand they are putting in an ATM there. Good for them and “nuts” for me.

Today I drove across the alley and parked in the lot behind the post office. Only a few more steps for me, nothing wrong with that, and I can conveniently mail things and make deposits on my walk to work!

So anyway, my “thing” about parking on Main Street relates mainly to people who work downtown and park on Main Street. Why do they do that? (I almost hate to bring it up because I might be tempted to do it someday; but maybe only during a snowstorm when no one else is downtown.)

I imagine some excuses: “I am only in the office for an hour and then I leave, or come and go all day.” “I am parking in front of an empty building.” “The whole street is nearly empty.”

Or, the excuses I don’t really imagine (or anyway, don’t understand): “I don’t care.” “I don’t want to walk that far.”

Any time a person who works downtown parks on Main Street they are taking a parking space that should be reserved for the customers and clients of the downtown businesses. They are either taking their own customers’ parking space or they are taking the parking space of a neighbor’s customer.

It doesn’t matter if the building they park in front of is empty. There are other going businesses on the block. I’ll bend a little bit for the business person who actually is just popping into their office to pick something up - but otherwise? Go park around the corner.

I also get a bit upset when people who live in the apartments on Main Street leave their cars parked there all day. They probably don’t even know this, but the city’s ordinance regarding rental units instructs the landlords to have language in their lease agreements informing their tenants that they are not to park on Main Street - ever!

So - never is probably a bit extreme - but how about if they park off Main Street during business hours, Monday through Friday? Sure, they may need to run some groceries or other purchases up the stairs. Fine - park on Main Street for those reasonable tasks. But then leave the spaces for business use.

We may not have the busy downtown retail climate that we had years ago, but we do have many thriving businesses who rely on customers and clients walking in their doors. We should all work together to keep our business district strong and make it an attractive place to conduct business.