Our society hesitantly recognizes and applauds those that can predict the future. Generally, it has to be several years after the fact, but they get recognized eventually. We look back and say how these predictors of the future were ahead of their time and how smart they were. It seems that those seeking parking spaces downtown may be doing the same about such predictors now, only a short time after the finish of the downtown Streetscape.

There was a recent article about lack of parking, causing a local business owner to not be able to grow the business. Now who would have seen that problem when the city council approved the Central Business District Streetscape? Was it the Around The Corner owner who chained herself to the tree? Or how about the other merchants that voiced their concerns. Yes, we got new trees, but we lost several parking spaces.

Not a big deal, you say? It is if you lose customers because they are not willing to park a block or more away to get to your business. I don’t know the exact count of parking spaces surrendered to the trees, but one is one too many when you are a business loosing business owner. Here, again, is an example of government getting in the way of business. One of the benefits to being an Edmonite is the cozy feeling of downtown. So much so that more and more people, both citizens and visitors, are going there. More restaurants are appearing. In the middle of that, we offer fewer parking spaces. I know the city has plans to install a parking lot on First Street, but has not completed the project yet. I remember an old phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” But that may not be a fair thing to say, as the city does have plans, just they just haven’t got them done yet.

But, the city has employed yet another consulting firm to tell them they could use a parking garage. It seems that consultants are the only folks who have ideas the city believes. If the city (citizens) doesn’t pay for an idea, it appears to not be valid. So, the city has determined that by throwing more money at a problem, it will be resolved. Another benefit of this type management is that if a situation causes enough pain, the citizens will be glad to see money spent to correct the situation. This painful method of management results in a negative effect on business and customers alike. We can land a man on the moon, but can’t redesign the Central Business District and anticipate and resolve parking problems without hiring consultants. Wow! What a city. Maybe if we go rub the green Frog enough, our wish will come true!

Now you have an official warning: there are parking problems in downtown Edmond. As we view all the ads for Thanksgiving and Christmas sales, remember, there is a parking problem downtown. In one respect, the city can say they have done such a good job that this parking problem is a good thing. On the other hand, as a customer, I don’t want to park blocks away to get where I am going. Maybe we should move downtown over to I-35 where all the shopping will be going on. We could set up all business over there, on both sides of I-35, from Second Street to Memorial. Just line the place with businesses and everyone will have plenty of parking. Then, when people come to Edmond to shop, it will all be in one place. That will help solve the traffic problem too. We know the zoning precedent has been established. We can make Edmond the shopping Mecca for Oklahoma. We will be known all over for such a handy shopping set up.

Maybe I need to get on the Planning Board!

Remember, it is up to us to see they get it right.

(Bob O’Bar can be reached via e-mail at rto4nmm@sbcglobal.net)

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