Where to park?

Published:

There was a time when downtown Frankfort had two chronic problems parking and the Kentucky River at flood stage.

The South Frankfort floodwall has solved the river problem at least for South Frankfort but parking downtown remains a problem and, perhaps, always will.

That was brought home by a State Journal story Monday about some residents of Watson Court off Wapping Street objecting to the use of a vacant, city-owned lot on the court as a public parking lot. Ironically, the lot was bought by the city because the nearby river often flooded it.

The state is leasing the lot for 15 parking spaces to replace those lost from construction of the new Paul Sawyier Library, which itself is sitting on top of a former city-owned parking lot. The new spaces will be available for use by employees in nearby state office buildings as well as library patrons and the public.

And even though the new library will have more available parking than at the current library next door, Library Director Donna Gibson believes heavier public use of the new facility will make the Watson Court lot welcome for library patrons.

Parking downtown is sometimes at a premium, Gibson said.

Indeed.

Despite two multi-story parking garages downtown, it often takes longer to find an available parking spot than it takes to perform routine courthouse business like renewing a drivers license or paying property taxes.

And downtown merchants have long complained that downtown workers hog available on-street parking at the expense of shoppers. For some reason, people are willing to park a quarter of a mile away from Wal-Mart or Home Depot but adamantly refuse to park half a block away from shops on Main Street or Broadway.

So what does the future hold for parking downtown? A new parking lot at Second and Conway streets will help with City Hall and Plant Board employees and customers, especially when the citys new Public Safety Building goes up on what is now the Police Headquarters parking lot. (Why do we keep putting big new public buildings on top of small, scarce parking lots in Frankfort?)

The city has its own arborist, and its own historian and curator. Its time for the city to have a parking supervisor whose job is to advocate on behalf of the motorist traveling from street to street, boulevard to court, searching for that elusive parking spot in downtown Frankfort.

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