Friday, July 31, 2015

Turnabout Fair Parking Play

Bank of America downtown Amherst

In all likelihood the Planning Board will bring to Town Meeting this fall a zoning article allowing downtown businesses to lease out their parking lots as a sort of stand alone business using only a simple Site Plan Review process.

Now, without such a change, that would require a Special Permit, which needs a unanimous vote of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Currently Amherst downtown has more private spaces (57% of total) than public so a more efficient use of those surface parking lots can be a benefit to both private businesses and consumers.

 BOA parking lot (right) Amity Street lot (top left)

But another concrete idea in the recently issued final draft of the Downtown Parking Report suggests either purchasing outright or entering a cooperative agreement with Bank of America.   Their 47 space lot is located behind Amherst Cinema adjacent to the town's most popular Amity Street Lot. 

 BOA building stands out just a tad from surrounding architecture

Since town officials have never really forgiven Bank of America for the design of their building (constructed by Amherst Savings Bank in 1984) dead in the center of town.  So universally panned, The Design Review Board was created in response to the building, to prevent a repeat occurrence.

So it would be kind of fitting for them to now come around and do the town -- and consumers -- a favor.

Click to enlarge/read
Downtown Parking Report (final draft) "Action Item."

21 comments:

jim fay said...

Do the town a favor? That's funny.

Larry Kelley said...

Just trying to play the "good cop."

The "bad cop" would of course threaten eminent domain.

Anonymous said...

That bank building was not Bank of America when it was built. It was another bank first. I know Shawmut Bank was there for awhile.

Anonymous said...

If that lot becomes public, I'd predict even more wrong-way traffic on South Prospect St. It's already a serious problem on that road.

Anonymous said...

Can someone let me know when this paint dries? At least the Blarney Blowout had some nice pics of college girls....

Anonymous said...

Only problem with your story is the bank was built by Amherst Savings Bank decades before it was Bank of America.

Anonymous said...

I remember when it was Heritage Bank and Fleet Bank. I think it was also BayBank.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, it has changed hands many times, but it has ALWAYS been ugly.

Anonymous said...

Bank of America was founded in 1998. Two decades after it was built. Don't blame them.

Anonymous said...

for the consumer, free after hours parking in the BA lot is great. Hoping it doesn't get leased out to someone that will charge...I'm not sure how this move by the PB will help relieve parking (occasional) shortages. Am I missing something?

Larry Kelley said...

They changed the nameplate on the front facade.

Anonymous said...

If someone wanted to develop that piece of land, what could be built there?

Tom Porter said...

"A blot on the escutcheon"

(with tip of lid to Vince Cleary) **

Anonymous said...

Funny how it took that long for the town to create a design review board. Amherst couldn't be more architecturally inconsistent than it does now. Visually it wins the award as worst looking town in Western Mass and the bank didn't do that alone.

Anonymous said...

Only in Amherst. Remember some years ago when everyone was so excited for the new parking lot in the center of town. It was going to relieve an already stressed parking situation. Only in Amherst did they build a lot that was harder to park in, and offered nothing better than it was before they dug the hole. And what town creates an atmosphere where more than half of downtown parking is private. They want to make this a place to shop, where people come to visit? Laughable.

Anonymous said...

Great that the town is looking at options to share existing parking spaces. It's a nice nod to our younger generation to show how we can live with what we have, instead of always building another thing. Let's cool off the planet.

Anonymous said...

Save the earth... what a maroon as Buggs would say. If you took the entire population of the planet and gave them a square foot to stand in the entire population of the planet would fit in the state of Texas with room left over. We are an anthill, but somehow think we are far more important and meaningful.

Anonymous said...

You are confusing a bad cop and a socialist.

Anonymous said...

10:09
Hmmm...have you been to Hadley?

Anonymous said...

10:09 the difference between Hadley and Amherst is Hadley doesn't sell itself it's some amazing Mayberry RFD quaint looking town. Hadley likes commercial revenue. Amherst doesn't and has one of the worst small-town layouts going. Hadley is a strip mall and doesn't pretend to be anything else. Hadley is like a kid who bought ten Lego sets and haphazardly built a town from various parts of each set.

Anonymous said...

Cool off the planet. What're you gonna do, shut down the sun? Oh! I see. The Government!