Don’t mess with Galena parking
I read with great dismay that the city of Aspen is considering further damaging the vitality of our city by reducing parking on Galena Street.
It seems pretty clear to me from years of observation that the viability of Aspen businesses is significantly greater on centrally located streets with parking rather than on the mall. Over the years, mall locations have suffered as locations for viable retail businesses as evidenced by high turnover and a tendency to fill mall spaces with quasi-retail business such as real estate and temporary time-share offices.
While mall locations have suffered, Galena Street and other locations with on-street parking have thrived, and the retail center has shifted west and south over the years since the pedestrian mall was installed. While the reality may be that it is more often than not impossible to find a parking space in front of a particular retail location, it is clear that the possibility of storefront parking is important to consumers in Aspen as well as in shopping environments across the country.
Removing or reducing parking on Galena will tend to make Galena less viable and less a center of vitality (like the mall with the exception of a couple of street corners) and will tend to push prime retail locations to other very limited streets – this may be may be good for landlords on other streets, but it will create a net decline in center of Aspen vitality and will further reduce “local serving business” by pushing up rents in what are currently sub-par locations – since they will have some of the limited supply of store-front parking.
Aspen’s pedestrian mall is an important component of our community, but it also creates an area of limited viability. I encourage the city to set aside any plan to reduce parking on Galena Street.
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