We don’t have a parking problem, we have a walking problem
By Matt Browne
Hoot ‘n Annie
The top three things I hear people complain about in Paso Robles are the parking (lack thereof), water, and some of the streets that need repair. I do agree that we have a water issue and I also agree there are many streets that need to be repaired but I have changed my mind on the parking issue downtown.
If I recall correctly, there was a group years ago that did a study of Paso’s parking downtown and when the study was complete the overall point was that we do not have a parking problem, we have a walking problem.
There have been many ideas brought up over the years about turning this site into a parking structure or that site into a parking lot but none have come through. The thing is, people will always complain. “There isn’t enough parking downtown”. “A parking structure would be ugly and we need to keep Paso small”. “We’re growing too fast”.
I’m sure you’ve heard all of this and more. It’s probably similar in many towns around the country. Here’s the deal, cities grow. Ideal little towns like Paso grow because, well, they are ideal. It’s a beautiful area with wine, food, art, live music, and amazing outdoor activity. It’s centrally located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. We’re not far from mountains, skiing, camping, beaches, and so on.
I agree that we don’t want to grow too fast but I also disagree with a no growth policy. I also believe there is a way for everyone to come together productively rather than simply complaining. With that comes the need to be open minded and know that we can’t always get our way and should work together in order to move forward and on to the next issue.
That said I know the complaining and bickering will continue because some people are stubborn and refuse to educate themselves on the issues. I know that open mindedness is rare and selfishness is not. There is a bigger picture here and it is not just about you or me. It’s about honoring the history of Paso while responsibly building Paso from here on out in order to maintain the character unique to this area. This is possible but in the end probably won’t happen because people often refuse to work together.
I hope I’m wrong though.
So back to the parking. I too used to get frustrated driving around the park because I wanted to park directly in front of where I was going in to eat or shop. First world problems eh?
Here are some solutions for those that complain like I used to:
1) Don’t go downtown
2) Get a ride from someone so you can just be dropped off
3) Park a block or three away from the park and appreciate the walk. You love Paso right? Enjoy the stroll in our beautiful downtown. Change your negative perspective into a positive one.
4) When you go to San Francisco you know you will be walking, so adjust your thinking on Paso.
5) Go downtown earlier so you’ll have more parking options
These are just a few options but I’m sure there are more. Here’s what I know, complaining about parking (or anything else for that matter) is not making the situation better. If you have an issue with parking and feel you might have a good idea to solve it…go to the City Council. Whether we like it or not that is the system in which we live and you can choose that path to voice your thoughts.
The takeaway: Complaining, in general, sucks and seems to be a waste of time. Complaining does not solve anything but it does show you for who you are. We all live in this community together…let’s find a way to make things work. Downtown parking is the least of our worries…unless of course you’re lazy or feeling entitled today.