Part two of posts about O Street activation, but also of more general applicability. See also my related post No more pure office buildings downtown.
The activation of O Street under the CADA-led ‘Envision O Street: A Community Planning Process to Transform the Streetscape‘ effort will be only partially successful unless there are a lot more residents along O Street and the adjacent neighborhood to activate it. As it currently stands, the street is largely dead evenings and weekends. Even the homeless folks don’t much like hanging out there.
So, forthwith, my modest proposal. All surface parking lots along N, O, P and Q streets will be transferred to CADA and developed for residential and/or mixed use. These developments might even include some office space, but no development would be purely office. We have enough state office space as it is, and we have enough parking garages (decks) as it is. Significant parts of the parking decks are empty even on weekdays, and they are completely wasted space the rest of the time. Many of them are even locked up evenings and weekends, so they could not be used even if people wanted them to be used. The state seems to not care about whether downtown and its part of midtown (extending to 17th Street) are dead. It sees downtown as just a collection of office buildings, and is fine with the buildings and streets being empty off work hours. The state also believe that it is their responsibility to provide unlimited parking for their employees, no matter how much that parking decreases the livability of the places they work. I’m not sure if these attitudes come only from DGS (Department of General Services) which manages state property, or is a more general view, but it is wrong. The state should be encouraging workers to get out of their cars and onto transit (light rail runs on O Street), bicycles and foot, not providing them free and low cost parking. The state should be encouraging livability, not thwarting it.
All surface parking lots along N, O, P and Q streets will be transferred to CADA and developed for residential and/or mixed use.