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Bottom Parking: Change Not Necessary

I read with frustration and disbelief the Street Talk item regarding parking restrictions and decals in Shockoe Bottom ("Bottom Wants Parking Privilege," July 13).

Months ago, business owners and landlords on 19th and Franklin streets attended Eric Anderson's residents' meeting when they found out implementation of the restricted parking plan was on the agenda. None of them had previously heard of the plan or been consulted about it. Business owners and landlords on Franklin, 19th, 20th and 21st streets responded in writing to the city and to Richmond River District that:

A) there is no parking problem on these streets, B) both residents and businesses are opposed to hourly parking and decals for those streets, C) the new deck at 14th and Main should end most state employees parking in the Bottom, and D) most lunchtime and daytime patrons of 17th and 18th streets come from the Bottom and the Slip — within walking distance to the shops, bars and restaurants.

Apartments from 19th Street up have off-street parking. Landlords say they've never gotten resident complaints regarding lack of parking there. Small business owners in that area, many from the city's burgeoning creative class, are design- and media-oriented. Their clients arebilled hourly for their services, are often there all day and into the night and cannot repeatedly go outside to re-park. Owners (and clients) chose the area based on easy access and 24-hour on-street parking. It's not financially feasible for them to provide paid parking for their clients and staff, even if close, clean, safe private lots were available. Several have said that restricted parking anytime would cause them to consider deserting the Bottom for the counties.

City Council, David Wall and Eric Anderson should remember that the businesses on Franklin and the streets above 18th Street, and not apartment renters on those streets, are the largest tax base for the area. Ignoring them is foolish.

Jeanne Boisineau



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