There are two arguments against the garage that postulate the following: The garage is going to be built in a residential neighborhood and the garage location will severely affect the issue of traffic. Most citizens in Newburyport, in their busy lives, don’t often visit the Market Street-Titcomb-Washington area; or if they do, it’s to get to somewhere else. The opponents are hoping that most people will be convinced that this location is a bad one and that some other alternative location or even some other way to find parking should be made.
I postulate that both arguments are bogus. And all you have to do to agree with me is to go to this neighborhood and look around. First, let’s deal with the location of the garage. Walk to the northwest corner of the proposed garage site right next to the bridal shop and take a look. On any given day, a long line of cars are coming down Merrimac Street under the rail trail overpass and winding up funneling right past you. Slightly on the right, great numbers of cars are funneling off of Route One and most are proceeding, you guessed it; right past where you are standing. A garage in this location is literally in a position to be fed not just at peak tourist season but year round. A perfect location, and not on some side road to be rarely used. I know that going to Portsmouth myself; I instinctively look for the garage and have to drive around to find it. Here in Newburyport; there will be no issue.
Second, leaving that standing position, start to walk up Market Street and then cross over to Titcomb Street. Notice the heavy parking around the YWCA, the parking lot around the Central Congregation Church and the large parking area around the catholic church campus. Notice the steady car traffic as people race up Titcomb trying to get to High Street. This doesn’t include St. Paul’s and the busy traffic around Green Street and Summer Street. The opponents want you to believe this is a sleepy quiet neighborhood that will be first disrupted by construction and then a steady line of noisy buses and vehicles. My natural question is, “When will they even notice?”
As I repeatedly have asserted, the ONLY issue is the aesthetics. In a city where architecture and history is our bread and butter; it is important the garage blends into the streetscape and has some measure of connectivity with our Federalist-designed downtown.
As a side-note, the area where the garage will be is practically invisible as viewed at the top of the Gillis Bridge. (Take the time to go stand there!) Unlike the ghastly Sullivan Building, it won’t harm the historic overall appearance of our skyline.
The majority of citizens in Newburyport have fought for years for expanded park on the waterfront and the garage will be a powerful path forward to seeing what has been sought for over 40 years. Making it come to pass will be a complicated process and I do trust our elected officials to see it through.
PS. Oh yes! Concerning Monday’s vote: thank you city councilors for supporting the garage!