Monday, August 1, 2005

Downtown This Morning

I took a lazy hour this morning to walk Hero downtown, grab a redeye from Espresso-2-Go, and sit on a shady bench on Elm St.

The contrast from my Saturday evening visit last weekend was vivid. At 9 a.m. on a Monday morning, almost nobody was on the street except a few delivery men and a few others who seemed to me to be poor and/or indigent.

And yet there must have been thousands more people downtown on Monday morning than there were on Saturday night. Our downtown highrises are full of office workers.

But where were they? Why didn't I see them arriving for work at 9 a.m.?

I'm pretty sure it's because most of those thousands park in the many parking decks in the northern section of downtown, and many of them can walk directly into their workplaces from those decks. They never need to set foot on a downtown sidewalk if they don't want to.

That seems to me to validate what an anonymous commenter on this post said -- abundant parking kills street life. (Of course Donald Shoup would agree, too). But I'm not convinced that all those downtown workers actually want to come out of their office buildings, much as downtown merchants would like them to.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Been in the business world for 16 years and never had a job that allowed me to come in at 9 a.m.. I, as well as most of my co-workers downtown, are in the office by 7:30 a.m..

Kim said...

I briefly worked downtown when we first moved here. I lived for my lunch hour when I could wander around downtown. Nobody else I worked with seemed to want to go out for lunch, but I certainly did. And yes, I did park in the parking garage. Didn't matter - I wanted to walk around downtown!

Geeez, I miss living in a downtown area.

Kim said...

I was just thinking about people who can get to work at 9am. Wouldn't that be nice? Remember the days of 9 - 5 with an hour for lunch? Ahhh.

Actually, my husband had a job before his current one with what I thought were perfect hours. He got there at 7 and got out at 3:30. Still had time in the afternoon to enjoy the day and get things done.

diane said...

David,
Maybe you didn't venture far enough down Elm Street. South Elm is jumping by 9 am. Young women from Southside and other neighborhoods are pushing baby strollers, people are sitting at tables on the sidewalk at several coffee places and some retail is going on. By 10 am most of the shops are open and even before traditional lunch time the restaurants are busy. People of all ages are alive and well on South Elm Street. Hurray ! ! !

One thing that I might mention about Downtown is that some of the small shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Because Saturday is traditionally a shopping day, some small businesses are closed Monday to have two days of rest before starting the business week.

Come on Down South (Elm, that is) anytime. We are friendly folks.