Recently I was able to get together with a dear friend to catch up on each other’s busy summers. We were able to work out a day when we were both free for lunch and after some back and forth about our options we agreed we’d like to go to one of two downtown restaurants but neither of us, we agreed, wanted to “deal with parking”.
After elaborate logistical planning allowing me to do a necessary errand and then meeting to travel in only one car (to ease the parking search), my clever companion arrived to collect me. She came with a plan, basically it was an escape route. We agreed on one circuit through downtown looking for parking and if it wasn’t meant to be, well then, we had a Plan B, and a yummy one at that. And one with a parking lot. Let me say that many times Plan B has been my first choice and is very yummy separate from its convenient lot.
I’ll jump to the end of the story because where we parked is not the point of this column. We did one circuit and found a nearly empty lot. We looked at each other and it was if finding an oasis in the desert. We soon found out why it was empty between noon and 1pm on a weekday: the broken credit card reader in the payment machine. We scrounged enough change to get us through lunch, parked and enjoyed our luck, our lunch, and our conversation.
There are a few truths I must offer in the ongoing conversation about downtown and parking:
- My friend Dwight Bassett, Chapel Hill’s former Economic Development Officer, used to tell me there’s more public parking than ever available downtown. I believe him.
- I loved living in and near New York City where there’s no expectation of finding parking anywhere ever. It never kept me from eating in a particular restaurant.
Taken together, I’m starting to form a better understanding of the contradictions at the crux of this dilemma. Now it’s your turn to come up with the answers! Leave a comment below or write to me at Donnabeth@Chapelboro.com