It’s an economic development tool and an emotionally explosive topic; it’s “easy and fast” and it keeps you “driving around the block till hell freezes over.” It “rarely gets much of my thought time” and “I think that fat guy in the [parking ticket] cart is a stalker." It's...parking in Roanoke.
The topic is “downtown Roanoke parking,” but it could just as easily be “gun control” judging from the way the sides line up with nobody in the middle. Clean straight lines, glaring at each other across the divide.
The very phrase “downtown parking” raises hackles and defenses. Listen up:
David Perry, Western Virginia Land Trust: “It’s a perception thing. It’s just as fast and easy to park downtown, but you can’t go whipping through the downtown at 40 mph looking for a space like you can at Valley View Mall. The starts and stops give the impression that you’ve been looking for a spot forever. Truthfully, parking downtown is more like parking at Towers [shopping center]. Cars coming from every direction, it’s hard to get in or get out.”
Pam Berberich, Glazed Bisque-It: “Do you want to hear about an established business that is up [significantly] for five months straight just by moving from downtown to a place where parking is never an issue? I am scared to advertise. I refused to believe that parking was an issue.”
Kathy Bibb, For Rent Media Solutions: “Downtown parking sucks! If I go, I usually just bite the bullet and opt for a paid parking lot. It saves me gas from driving around the block ‘til hell freezes over, and keeps me from getting a bad attitude, which is a direct result of driving around the block multiple times. I think that fat guy in the [parking ticket] cart thing is a stalker.”
Chris Berry, Spare Room Design: “There is no parking challenge to solve. Roanoke is the easiest place to park on the planet. The only problem is that people have no sense of scale. The parking lot at Valley View is larger than all of downtown Roanoke. People never seem to have a problem driving around in circles and walking a half mile from their car to the store of their choice at the mall, but if they can’t park directly in front of a store or restaurant downtown they act like it is the end of the world.”