This is Scoops https://www.scoopsmonroe.com/ (Monroe's ice cream and candy shop). It is exciting to see this private courtyard created for Scoops patrons. This is the highest and best use for this corner no doubt! If you can remember a couple months ago this was 4 to 5 empty car parking spots. Parking spots!?! Really? This beautiful courtyard used to be ugly cement parking spot? Now, most evenings and afternoons this space is filled with people, kids to grandparents, sitting, talking, laughing and enjoying a scoop and enjoying each other. This is a great example of what happens when the community turns parking lots into places for people.
This shop is on the corner of North Broad St. and Highland Avenue. It has recently seen an amazing transformation and has become a beautiful example of placemaking vs. parking, right here in Downtown Monroe. There is a long standing delima between placemaking vs parking and far to often parking has had dominance keeping developers preoccupied with parking requirements. Are parking lots more important or are people more important? Which one is more valuable? A vehicle or a person? People are more important and more valuable right?
Over the last few months people have begun to park on Highland Avenue, on the street, without dotting an eye. Highland Avenue has historically been viewed and used as, simply a connector street. Now, with Scoops opening and adding more patrons to town, we have seen first hand just how practical and beneficial on street parking can be. Drivers drive slower with more caution. People feel safer walking the sidewalks with the parked cars acting as a buffer between them and moving traffic. Now, naturally one can argue that drivers are driving slower with more caution because of Scoops opening . On-street parking is increasing the number of people that are walking passed certain commercial buildings that haven't been walked by in years, raising the value of those commercial shops on Highland Ave.
We as a community have seen first hand how place-making can be much more beneficial than parking lots. What other Parking lots could we turn into places that people can enjoy? What other streets are capable of handling more on street parking? Do you know of a street that would benefit from more on-street parking? Residential streets in town that have cars parked in the grass or in the yard... those cars should park on the street. Streets in Downtown that are capable of taking on a new job description by adding parking onto them, dispersing the parking load throughout the city.