“Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra
What a great problem for downtown Conway to have. During lunch, intermittently throughout the week and certainly Saturday nights, you can find yourself parking blocks from your downtown destination.
“I’ll never come down here again. We just have to park too far away,” was overheard this past weekend. Also heard, “Honestly, we come here for drinks until the crowd at the Pasta Grill dies down.”
Talk of a parking deck near the new police station a while back was thought to be a Band-Aid for the future. That never came to pass.
We’ve hit the tipping point of diminishing returns trying to push a growing number of customers into a bottleneck of limited parking. If you can’t park close, you begin looking for other options.
Some of those options are not coming downtown as much until the traffic levels off. Then, that’s your new normal and maximum level of business traffic potential.
That potential has to be expanded for downtown Con-way to keep moving and not be stymied.
We have great retail stores and a growing food and entertainment experience downtown, and Conway continues to buck the national trend of deteriorating downtowns.
Newcomers are amazed at how vibrant Conway is. To keep it that way and to get to the next level, ongoing investment in infrastructure and marketing what is happening has to continue.
It hasn’t hurt Mike’s Place that three sizable businesses have located in the Federal building in the past year, but it has hurt parking availability in the area. We know, we can see it from our windows. The work of the court downtown keeps others lots filled too.
Admittedly, the Log Cabin has a dog in the fight for parking, but it’s not what you think. Our spots in the lot behind suffice during the day. Our dog is a desire to see downtown continue to build up and thrive.
This isn’t the first time parking issues have been raised, but it is time for everyone to get braced for the inevitable. The Chamber of Commerce has been explaining the need for some time. More and more, it’s becoming obvious that we can’t wait until customers and business become fed up with the clog to do something.
The growth in downtown businesses and activity is an amazing thing. Just come down and do some people watching on the weekend as the weather brightens. Come down during lunch or weekend dinner to enjoy a great meal and see friends.
For now, bring your walking shoes too.