Perhaps it was the recent inspiration of the Green Hornet and Green Lantern. Or maybe our old-timer city officials still can’t get over Gumby’s removal from television.
Nonetheless, the city is days away from opening the controversial parking lot at the site of the old Ramada Inn on Taylor Street between First and Second streets. And it could not finish it without one last controversial splash –- literally.
Nearby workers woke up this week to find the parking lot painted a pasty green. The city says it sprayed the surface with a reflective sealant that will cool the surface by 25 to 30 degrees. The coating cost the city $100,000, increasing the parking lot’s total expense to $1.1 million. Absurd? Yes.
Jeremy Legg, a city economic-development-program manager, told the Arizona Republic this week: “We wanted to make the parking lot as green as possible. We came across this green, new, cool pavement. It’s a tinted concrete that you can spray on like paint over the asphalt.”
Is this city really trying to say they are “going green” by building a parking lot? This doesn’t even deserve the analogy of putting lipstick on a pig because this is even more batty.
I guess Dr. Seuss always longed to cook his eggs on our Phoenix asphalt.
Did the city ever consider not building a parking lot at all? The lot is detrimental to the foundation of a downtown urban core. No successful, bustling downtown city in America is rooted around parking lots. People take buses, rails or bikes into the city, and if there is parking, it is mostly isolated to a few metered spots and underground. A downtown needs foot traffic, not car traffic.
Furthermore, there is already enough parking downtown. A frequent complaint among ASU students is that this is not the case, but I would recommend everyone take their parking questions and frustrations to the city. According to a study completed for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership in 2006, the downtown core has 9,947 excess spots at the busiest point of the week.
Some have suggested we support the city’s decision to put this reflective material down. But what initiated the city to paint this parking lot green and dazzle it up as friendly for the environment?
On July 15, the Superior Court will finally hear community member Sean Sweat’s appeal against the city and the mayor-appointed Board of Adjustments. Sweat argues the city breaks city code by building this parking lot, and he has a solid case that it is damaging to the downtown neighborhood. But now, the city will assert the notion it built a “green” parking lot.
The city used more taxpayer money in an attempt to paint over its wrongdoing.
So why does the city refuse to back down? Next door, the Sheraton Hotel invested $1 million into helping purchase the land. And now, the city must hold its end of the deal in giving them space for overflow hotel parking. If it were to lose the lawsuit, the parking lot would be history.
Remember the dog park idea? This wild controversy is why neighbors in the community proposed the concept in the first place. They wanted to give the city an alternative, community-benefiting, low-expense option for the land until ASU begins construction on the law school.
The city needs to make an honest U-turn in its downtown policy.
Yet, until that day comes, let us bid adieu to “Her Secret is Patience.” There is a new work of art in town. The “Green Goblin” has officially moved in.
What’s Phoenix going to do next? Take all the trees and put them in a tree museum?
Vaughn Hillyard is a journalism junior at the Walter Cronkite School and the founder and president of ASU Downtown Alive!