When proponents of Council Bill 14-0397, Hampden Residential Permit Parking (which restricts a significant portion of Hampden to 1 hour only parking (currently amended to 2 hours), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) discuss parking congestion generators, the two main targets they most often cite in explaining why they need such severe restrictions is Johns Hopkins University and the Rotunda redevelopment.
Hopkins, they point out, charges their employees to park in their parking garage just like every other academic institution I've ever worked at. But since the neighborhood offers ample parking, many employees have opted to take advantage of that instead of using the garage. Some area residents don't like that.
But in community meeting after community meeting I've attended, pro-RPP testimony often reveals a significant fear of possible parking congestion as a result of the Rotunda redevelopment as a rationale for this legislation as well.
Usually at these hearings, when more rational minds suggested it might be wiser to wait to see what, if any, kind of impact the Rotunda will have on the neighborhood, they were shouted and mocked down by pro-RPPers suggesting that such an attitude isn't so much pragmatic as it is naive.
Here we are in the final days of the the RPP debate/legislation, and the Rotunda, via their Facebook page, has decided to finally sound off on the subject with a post saying...
We understand that some neighbors are concerned with the future conditions of parking directly adjacent to the Rotunda. As the developer of the Property, Hekemian and Co. reaffirms the following commitments to our neighborhood.
Hekemian will provide ample free parking for all retail and office customers and employees. Hekemian will make over $1 million in road improvements along 40th, including a major re-alignment of the Roland Ave and 40th / 41st Street intersection. Hekemian will provide free resident garage parking for units with direct access to 38th street.
It's a bit late in the game, Rotunda. And your commitment to the neighborhood won't mean much to the small business community if this RPP being voted on Monday passes as a result of what you are doing. But then, your tenants will actually benefit from it.
Let me explain...
Let's say this RPP passes on Monday, as it's expected to do. Aside from residents on neighboring blocks who don't have RPP, who else suffers the most from this? The Hampden independent business district on 36th Street as parking congestion will be pushed right up against Avenue, and (as is typical of RPP) more residents request RPP thereby restricting more public access to public city streets.
Visitors to Hampden's Avenue will have nowhere to park. However, visitors to the Rotunda will, since they have a parking garage with "ample parking."
This RPP actually benefits the Rotunda and their chain stores by harming the Hampden's award-winning, independent retail district.
So this RPP legislation - it hurts residents. It hurts the Avenue. It benefits the Rotunda, it benefits their corporate chains by putting stress on its competition and it benefits a small handful of residents who had enough pull to get Councilperson Clarke to draft this extremely flawed piece of custom legislation. If passed as is, this RPP will have a profound and dramatic effect on Hampden's Avenue and Hampden as a whole.
But it's not too late...
The final vote is Monday, February 9 at 5PM at City Hall. We only need one vote to swing support.
If you can, please call any of the following council people. If not, please email them and express your concern. Ask them to vote no against Council Bill 14-0397, and if, for whatever reason, they can't bring themselves to do that, ask them to simply abstain from voting.
Rochelle "Rikki" Spector
Room 521, City Hall
Sharon Green Middleton
Room 516, City Hall
William "Pete" Welch
Room 532, City Hall