Residents want businesses to provide long-term parking solution

A 150-seat restaurant is being proposed for the San Marco Square location where Stellers Gallery currently operates. The applicant, Al Mansur, has asked for an exception to provide eight spaces in the rear of the building, hoping to make use of existing street parking and perhaps the lot behind the building, which is owned by Southside Baptist Church.

Do you think his restaurant should be granted the parking exception? What solutions can you suggest for increasing parking in the vicinity of San Marco Square?

Quincy Brown, San MarcoQuincy Brown, San Marco

Who doesn’t think there is a parking problem in San Marco? I think if it is a super fine restaurant, sure, but if it is a hamburger joint, no. We have too many of those, and if they don’t have parking, they shouldn’t be allowed to go in. I’m pro-business and all for them, but they will be parking on top of each other, and where’s the land for a parking garage? We are running out of space around here. There is no simple solution. I want to see the quality of the businesses in San Marco move up. We should work together and not against each other to find a mutual solution. I don’t want to beat him down (owner of The Flying Iguana), but I don’t want to circle the block 100 times either (looking for parking), and I’ve done that already.

Nigel Ledford, San MarcoNigel Ledford, San Marco

No, it’s a terrible idea to allow 150 seats. It’s not fair. If they open up here they will choke out the rest of the businesses. There is tons of real estate a little way away from here. Perhaps in the area of the Skyway Station, (they could build a parking garage) and a trolley could ferry people back and forth from there. Then you could get on the Skyway and go other places as well. I would like to see the Skyway used more. That area over there is going to be booming in the future for sure. Also, perhaps they could talk to the church landowners and consider building a garage there. The church could charge for event parking. It could be two or three decks and the top or bottom (deck) could be reserved for the church. It would be their parking lot, so let the church choose, I know older folks don’t always want to climb stairs. There could be a grand compromise and the church could profit in the meantime.

Jacob McCain, San MarcoJacob McCain, San Marco

It’s a catch-22 because we want businesses to thrive and open here. We want the economy to be robust, however, we are limited by the way the area was historically developed. But as a resident I’m lucky because I can bike here and enjoy this, but I would like to see it become even a little more bike friendly. We need to find out if we have identified the maximum number of commercial parking (spaces) here, then we need to identify a parking solution or we will need to cap parking. Perhaps a shuttle system could be put in place to take people from the JTA lots. It might encourage people to ride the JTA. Or perhaps the tax payers and businesses could pay for a garage. It would benefit the businesses.

Sunny McCain, San MarcoSunny McCain, San Marco

I believe (the Flying Iguana) is responsible for its own parking assessment, but precedence has been set by giving a variance to the other restaurants. San Marco needs to make it easy for businesses to come in. I feel like the restaurants should get together and share a parking lot. There is a lot of area that is undeveloped and a little further away and doesn’t have the value of the prime retail space closer to the square. Then they could do a shuttle running every 15 minutes. It would not be city run. The merchants get a direct benefit by people coming into the area and part of their expense should be parking. It’s time for the merchants to get together and solve the parking problem. People should be working together. The merchants should pool their resources. They need to have a purposely cohesive mindset. If you are viewing your neighbor as competition, that’s not good. We need a long-term solution.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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