|View from the Casino complex looking west during an average weekday.|
The above picture is of the lower parking lot on the western side of the Casino property. Whilst the smaller, top portion is usually close to full with cars (people eating at Benny’s or making the hike to one of the Casino building spaces) the lower parking lot is mostly empty during the typical weekday. From the site plan, that amounts to about 416 parking spaces, creating a sea of asphalt for would-be automobiles that would occupy these spaces if there were demand for them on weekdays.
I think we can all agree a mostly-empty parking lot represents a lost revenue opportunity, regardless of how you choose to look at “the numbers” that make up the Beach Fund. This Casino parking lot could be the parking for the Gulfstream Hotel to accommodate construction workers, Gulfstream employees, and many others freeing up parking in the downtown.
A shuttle could pick people up but many might just walk over the bridge since it’s a relatively short walk anyway. And the Gulfstream owners, of course, would pay the City for the privilege of using this parking area especially for the convenience of their employees.
Hopefully, if the Gulfstream Hotel project moves forward there will be many ideas on how to solve the parking issue, if any do arise, and the Casino parking lot is just one idea. All it takes is cool heads to prevail and look at opportunities and possibilities instead of the first reaction always being a near panic. Another potential solution would be the addition of one more level of parking on the parking structure proposed for the redevelopment, the last approval if I recall correctly, left open that possibility to add more levels later.
And finally, you may be asking yourself this question: “Why is the Casino parking lot so large and so empty most of the time?” Good question.
Much like parking lots of shopping malls all across our nation, this space was built for “peak demand” times. The problem is that represents only 29% of the time, a generous estimate on a weekly basis. Add to that the lower level parking being too far from destination uses, the pier and the Casino building itself, you have a situation where people may make the choice, while deciding where to go for lunch or breakfast, they don’t want to mess with the parking at the Beach, having to pay for it and then walking uphill (in the hot Summer!) for the “privilege” of going to the Beach.
There are so many other restaurant destinations in our Downtown many residents and visitors would find more preferable than the hassle of going to the Beach. And unlike the Casino — almost all of our Downtown restaurants have free parking nearby — both free parking lots and free street parking as well.
I hope that helps explain things. And imagine this, there’s more progress to report!
Made it through an entire blog post that brings up the Casino and didn’t once mention the prior City administration that got us all into this mess in the first place and didn’t bring up the Greater Bay plan either, you know, the plan that included a brand new pool and a parking garage at the Beach.
|This plan tackled the fundamental flaw all along: a Casino structure should occupy the center of the Beach property. Maybe the Millennials or another future generation will solve that problem once and for all.|