OUR VIEW: We have a big walking problem

There are plenty of novel ideas out there coming from people who lament the apparent lack of parking in commercial cores

There are plenty of novel ideas out there coming from people who lament the apparent lack of parking in commercial cores like downtown Sidney. They can range from adding more parking areas and using meters to deter long-term space-dwellers, to starting up services such as trolleys, as noted by one reader in today’s letters page.

Invariably, in communities of a similar size and scope, the problem isn’t a lack of parking places.

The problem, in general, lies in that many drivers simply want to be able to park out front of, or very close to, their destination. That holds true for some employees of downtown businesses as well.

That means there’s a walking problem, not a parking problem.

It’s human nature. You’re making a run to the store to pick up a few things, so why not look for that sweet spot right out front. And when it’s not there, you do a few circles around the block waiting for one to open up. We’ve all done it. And other drivers have the same idea. So if you’re not there first … hard cheese.

The time we’ve taken to do that, however, could have been spent taking a parking spot just a little further away and then walking to the store and back. Unless we’re there to buy bricks or an anvil, the walk would probably do us a bit of good.

Certainly, there are people whose limited mobility make parking close to their destination a necessity. Being able to travel from door to door would be a tremendous boon for them. There are options — from cabs and the bus to a friends next door — to achieve this, but creating a whole new service in a mostly centralized population to the downtown core of Sidney might not be very cost-effective or efficient.

Perhaps more effective would be initiatives to encourage store employees to park in the rear of where they work, or in one of the downtown parking lots. That might free up a few spaces.

Yet parking, being transient in nature, will always be a sore spot for people wanting to be right out front. A little patience is needed, for that space is certain to open up at any moment.


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