In the revitalized Riverside neighborhood at Park Street and King Street, there is a lot of consternation about current and potential parking problems. There are many thriving restaurants in the area, led by the success of Kickbacks Gastropub (go there if you haven’t – it’s an awesome place: delicious food, tons of different beers and eclectic design), and this means more people who need to park their cars in the commercial and residential space.
While parking is not an overwhelming problem now, Kickbacks is planning on opening a new restaurant that will seat about 250 more people in the area (with maybe the best Dr. Seussian name ever: “Goozlepipe and Guttyworks”). Many residents and groups, including the Riverside Avondale Preservation Society (RAP) are protesting the expansion, largely because the area can not support another wave of parked cars on a regular basis.
So here’s my ill-formed idea on how to help the parking situation and raise funds to support a long-term solution: valet parking!
1. Lot between College St. and the railroad tracks
The first hurdle I see is: Where will the valets park the cars? There appears to be some paved (possibly not maintained, but partially paved) land just a couple blocks east of Kickbacks on College Street next to the train tracks. It would take some money to secure the area and possibly do a little resurfacing, but it looks like several cars could be parked there and it wouldn’t be so far away that it would take too long to retrieve the cars if…
2. Bicycling valets
The lot I’m suggesting is a little too far for valets to efficiently run back and forth from the King St. area, but cycling valets could get back and forth pretty effortlessly. Cycling is immensely popular in Jax and I’m sure one of the area cycle shops could donate some bikes for the cause. And that also opens up the possibility of…
3. Bicycle rickshaws
They have those bicycle rickshaws around the Jags’ stadium, why not put some in the Park/King area to get people to remote lots or from one part of the area to another?
The rickshaws and the valet service would not be free, but small fees for the services would provide funding to offset some of the costs involved (and I’m sure there are businesses and passionate residents that might donate to help fund such a solution if it were found to be feasible), and eventually support some type of parking structure for the area.
What do you think? Got something better? Look forward to hearing your comments!