By David Feehan
We make a couple of trips to Brooklyn each year. My son and his family live in the Kensington neighborhood, just off Ocean Parkway. Our twin grandsons have a summer birthday, so we scheduled a weekend in the city.
Expedia gave us an attractive price on a hotel on Broadway (in Brooklyn’s Bushwick community, not to be confused with Manhattan’s famous road). We usually stay in downtown Brooklyn and are familiar with where to park. But this was a neighborhood I’d never visited before. I called the hotel and was told that parking on the street was no problem. I did find on-street spaces, but this was a different experience than I expected from the photos online.
Bushwick is described as an “up and coming” neighborhood. Twenty years ago, it was a crime- and drug-invested trouble spot, but recently, young people–artists and students–have been moving in. That said, Broadway still needs help. The street is littered with trash and the buildings sport graffiti. Most retail stores have pull-down metal gates. The overall impression is that this district desperately needs a BID (business improvement district). BIDs have cleaned up and improved more than 70 areas in New York City and the difference is clear. Communities with BIDs are cleaner, safer, more appealing, and economically more successful.
We had to park a couple of blocks from the hotel. The walk from our car with luggage and gifts was not very pleasant. If I were the hotel owner, I would do two things: find a better parking solution for my patrons, and organize my neighboring property owners to form a BID.
As more cities become even more antagonistic toward cars, it behooves businesses that depend on auto traffic to find creative solutions to parking. Not everyone is going to arrive by cab, Uber, or subway.
David Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.