Better solutions exist than a parking garage

newsroom@islandpacket.comJuly 16, 2014 

Just when we Coligny-area residents thought that our redevelopment plans were working out, the town's parking garage proposal rears its ugly head again. Unlike bourbon, this destructive idea doesn't get better with age, and is totally unnecessary.

The current town parking lot wastes a lot of space and could accommodate 50 to 100 more vehicles, and there is more space available in the adjacent, unused area without compromising plans for the new park. No adequate parking/traffic study has been done to document actual parking needs here even though everyone agrees that we do need more capacity.

Clearly, a large parking structure -- in addition to its wasteful $40 million to $50 million cost -- would be glaringly incompatible with the tree-dominated, low-profile building patterns of the Coligny area. Even the condo complexes nearby are much more attractive than a garage could ever be.

The last thing we need is another, much uglier, large building, even if it would store cars more "efficiently." Efficiency isn't everything when neighborhood aesthetics are at risk.

The logical thing for the town to do is to redesign the present surface parking lot to accommodate as many vehicles as possible, and add additional spaces at the Pope Avenue end of the adjacent tract. This would minimize cost, destroy fewer trees and substantially improve parking.

If future experience shows we need a parking garage, it can be built on the site of the existing surface lot.

Henry V. Sanders

Hilton Head Island

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