SHE’LL JUST HIT THE MALL
In my 30-plus years of driving in Findlay, I have noticed two things about drivers.
When turning either right or left, they (myself included) have the tendency to turn into the other lane. Turning right, they go into the left lane. Turning left, they go to the right lane.
If you think I’m wrong, start watching the drivers in front of you more closely.
My second observation is that very few drivers use their turn signals.
Many drivers reach their destination or a stop sign and then turn on their signal, giving no other drivers any warning until the last minute.
Turn signals are put on a vehicle for a reason. They’re not optional, like TVs or stereos.
Now, I’d like to pose a couple of scenarios, in reference to the downtown parking plan.
What happens if you find a space and put your signal on ahead of arriving at the empty space. You then pull past it to back in, but the person behind you isn’t watching and they cover the space before stopping.
Do you then circle the block to find another space, or make everyone behind you back up so you can maneuver in?
Or how about this: The parking space you find is the last space before the next street.
You want to park, but the driver behind you thinks you are turning right and covers the space. Now what?
Clearly there are advantages to the plan for shop owners downtown and clearly big disadvantages for drivers.
I always find parking on a side street when shopping downtown, even if it’s a couple blocks away. A large-space parking lot would be a huge benefit and reason for me to visit downtown.
However, if this new parking plan is adopted, I will probably never venture downtown again. I guess I’ll just head toward the mall where there’s ample parking.
DOWNTOWN PLAN IS EXCITING
I am a 50-something single mother of two young adults and I have lived in the city of Findlay since 1991.
I own a home just off Main Street, I work on Main Street, I bank on Main Street, I shop and dine on Main Street, as well as other parts of downtown, and I am excited about the proposed changes to the downtown area, including those on Main Street.
I believe a city is only as healthy as its downtown, so it’s exciting to know that the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts will soon be taking shape and bringing quality entertainment to downtown. It’s also exciting to know that Marathon Petroleum is growing, staying in our downtown, and contributing to the overall financial health of other downtown businesses.
And now it’s great to see how the city of Findlay is moving toward encouraging additional downtown revitalization by the proposed changes to driving lanes and parking on and near Main Street.
I attended one of the community meetings this week where the proposed changes were discussed. I came away impressed by the plans and surprised to know that the upgrades to downtown will not likely cost anything to the taxpayer. I hope you will join me in sending letters in support of the proposed changes to The Courier and to our City Council members.
CONSIDER OTHER PARKING OPTIONS
I attended the second of the public meetings regarding the restructuring of the downtown traffic pattern. Those of you who attended the 4:30 meeting might be surprised to know that the facilitators engaged the “young professionals” with questions, answers and comments, and served lunch.
I heard that was not so at the 4:30 meeting. Mostly, the out-of-towners spoke about the wonderful successes that they have had in the past in different cities, using terms that almost sounded like they lived here or at least wanted to. Oh the gathering spaces and the atmosphere, the ambiance and the vibrancy, it just gave me goosebumps!
Well, guess what? Downtown businesses come and go, it happens, they either make it or they do not. There are many bars and restaurants that have made it and parking has not been much of an issue.
All this nonsense about accidents because the traffic moves too fast? I think signs with lower speed limits would be in order. In the past month, I have had the pleasure of visiting downtown Findlay for various reasons. Three of my family members drove separately and were able to find parking close to where we were going without any trouble at all.
So we need extra parking but are only going to add 30-33 spaces? Redesign the Dorney Plaza, name it Dorney Square and put the spaces back that we lost. Those were actually diagonal spaces, if memory serves me right.
And think of all the parking that the new performing arts center will provide. There won’t be something going on there all the time. Won’t there be parking available there as well? As I have said before, when all the commerce was downtown, there was adequate parking. We shopped, we carried packages, we pulled in and out of spaces. Life was not as techy then, but it was good. It all served Findlay well. Now the trend is to regroup and focus on downtown.
So do the study with cones. If it pans out well and the public likes it, then, and only then, move forward. But to the “powers who think they are all that,” do stop thinking that those of us who are opposed to this plan do not count.
WRONG SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS
The wrong solution to a set of problems. That is what the new street design represents.
We have merchants who want customers, we have city government that sees “free” money for beautification, we have a shortage of parking spaces on Main Street, and we have a whole lot of traffic where state routes turn on and off of Main Street. But, what has been created is not a good solution to any of these problems.
Merchants seem to think if there were more parking spaces in front of their stores, more people would buy from them. Research shows that is probably not true.
Look at our mall, with close parking and covered walkways. Where are the shoppers? They are home ordering online and this change is being felt across the country. As to free money for beautification, there is no such thing as “free” and politicians should have learned that by now. There is a shortage of parking on Main, but did the city buy the Argyle Building lot after the fire? No, they did not. Now they are compounding that error.
As to truck traffic using the routes that cross Main Street, if truck traffic can be rerouted, why hasn’t that been done? Why can’t it be done now?
When faced with a medical problem, the first rule is “do no harm.” Unfortunately, the mayor and city government have ignored that kind of logic. Have they considered that most drivers out there had to show that they could safely parallel park before getting their license?
Who knows the level of ability of an entire community to use angled back-in parking? Will there be places equipped with cones so that folks can practice this maneuver, which is not the same as simply backing into a parking space?
Before adopting any plan that narrows the street and creates an untested parking system, the city should have a trial period as others have suggested, and there should be a place for people to practice the parking maneuvers.
I hope that the entire plan will be put on the ballot for a vote.
Nancy Susan Bakaitis
PLAN PUTS FLOODING ON BACK BURNER
Put a lid on it? Seriously? The general public had to submit written questions to a committee to be reviewed at a later date and not allowed to verbally ask questions?
It doesn’t sound like that was the case with the other meetings.
In previous articles, a merchant told the naysayers “to get over it.” I hope they treat their customers with a better attitude.
And just try to make us believe Marathon doesn’t have a thing to do with all of this. Do the leaders and planners of this downtown update think we, the average citizens of this fair city, are stupid?
Where do the average citizens of Findlay shop, dine, etc.? I don’t think it is downtown Findlay. But I could be wrong.
The mayor may think our letters are crazy, but at least they are being read. We all know that she will go ahead with this downtown plan no matter what anyone has to say about it. So, go for it. I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite you in the long run.
As for accidents in the downtown area, it is people not paying attention to traffic lights and walk lights that cause accidents, not the design of downtown Findlay.
Also, don’t you think there will be more accidents and traffic tie-ups on Western Avenue and Blanchard Street when more people start avoiding downtown Findlay to get from point A to point B?
I hope my tax money does not go toward this downtown update.
And just a thought. For a city that is always saying it has no money, where does the money for all of these “studies” etc. come from? I guess all of this attention to downtown Findlay puts the real problem of this town, flooding, on the back burner.
LET’S VOTE ON DOWNTOWN PLAN
I guess I am part of the hysterical minority. I do not think this idea of the new traffic pattern is functional. So I am writing my own crazy letter to the editor.
I believe we are still somewhat of a democracy in Findlay, unlike nationwide, where I think we have become a plutocracy.
Instead of more letters and phone calls, why not wait until November and put this on the ballot?
Then it can be shown that I am in the hysterical, crazy minority, and the majority want the plan to proceed. If you do not want to wait until then, have the vote during any other time before November.
This gives everyone a chance for their say, just like in the olden days when a vote really meant something and was not determined by persuasion of pouring money into an area with inaccurate information.
FLOODING SHOULD STILL BE TOP ISSUE
Findlay’s mayor spoke about several issues during the State of the City address.
One issue continues to concern and bother me: Flooding.
I believe the mayor was able to help accomplish much in 2013, including solving money problems, bringing back some employees, the Marathon project and the new performing arts center.
But with all those great things going on, shouldn’t the Blanchard River and all the ditches in the area be the No. 1 priority?
The river was never cleaned out this past fall, as promised, nor were Dalzell Ditch, or Lye and Oil creeks, and other ditches.
The residents of this community have been pleading and crying for action for months to council and to the mayor, but all they keep hearing about is lobbying and discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers, and not a single thing on cleaning the river or anything else.
Those projects should be three or four times more significant than what the mayor wants done to revitalize downtown. Those things will not mean a thing if we continue to get flooded out.
Also, help me understand this logic. Just because the CEO of Marathon goes to Washington because of the expansion project, that makes our flood issue more relevant than all the lobbying efforts of the mayor and others?
Personally, I still don’t think it’s going to matter. After seven years of lobbying and studies and spending a huge amount of money, the corps is not the answer.
In my opinion, cleaning the river, creeks and ditches should be a higher priority than what the city will look like 10, 20 or 30 years from now.
SO WHERE ARE ALL THE JOBS?
Recently, John Kasich has proposed a tax cut by raising taxes elsewhere. Does this really make sense? While the governor and our elected leaders in Columbus waste time with a partisan agenda like voting repression, abortion restrictions, “stand your ground” laws, the aforementioned tax cuts, and gerrymandering, Ohio is wasting away.
The taxes that they want to give back needlessly should be used for Ohio’s infrastructure. Our roads, highways and bridges are the worst they have been in decades. Our schools are struggling for funds and many cities are struggling because of loss of state funds.
Meanwhile, Ohio is 45th in job creation over the last two years! Ohio is one of only four states in the nation that has shown zero economic growth in the last three years! Think about that!
Are our elected representatives really doing the best for Ohio and its citizens? Are they producing jobs like they promised? Are they improving our state or do they have another agenda that ignores the needs of our great state?
It’s time we take back our state and elect people with a plan to improve Ohio. It’s obvious that Mr. Kasich and our elected representatives don’t have a clue, and apparently don’t care about our state and the need for jobs and improvement of our infrastructure.