One item on the Master Parking Plan Advisory Committee draft list of recommendations that didn’t make the cut on Tuesday is euphemistically called “Trash Plaza.” Bear Plaza, the cozy, charming stretch of narrow open space that starts on Middle Street, comes to an abrupt end at Trash Plaza. The area doesn’t have a formal name, and consists of a meandering parking lot punctuated by concrete islands, random shrubbery, garbage cans, and the faint aroma of bat guano — all owned by something like 14 people or entities (see Craven County GIS map, right). “The MPPAC (or, advisory committee for short) recommends the BOA (or, BoardRead More →

Paid parking on Broad Street won’t be among the recommendations an advisory committee brings to the Board of Aldermen at its Nov. 21 meeting. The Downtown Parking Advisory Committee also decided not to meddle with current parking rules on Broad Street, New Street, Hancock Street and Metcalf Street. Both proposals were among several contained in a draft list of recommendations that came before the committee on Tuesday. The committee will finalize its plan on Tuesday, Nov. 14, before bringing its recommendations to the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, Nov. 21. The committee will likely proceed with its recommendation to start enforcing 2-hour parking limits inRead More →

A study commissioned by New Bern and released in 2007 made several recommendations to improve Downtown New Bern’s parking situation. A parking structure was not among the recommendations, but was mentioned as an aside. The report by Lanier Parking Solutions recommended against adding paid parking downtown, unless the city built a parking structure, in which case it would need to have paid parking to pay for the construction costs. If a parking structure was considered, it recommended one of four locations: Within the “super block” between Middle, South Front, Craven and Pollock streets. The city lot at 100 Craven St. The Farmers Market Behind theRead More →

Who’s on the committee? In this corner, City Hall Dallas Blackiston, chairman, Ward 1 alderman. His ward includes Downtown New Bern. Leaving office in December E.T. Mitchell, Ward 3 alderman. Her ward neighbors Downtown New Bern. Leaving office in December Jeffrey Odham, Ward 6 alderman. His ward comes nowhere near Downtown New Bern.  Mark Stephens, city manager. His staff reports form the basis of committee discussions and decisions. Brenda Blanco, city clerk. Posts agendas, keeps minutes, distributes background material … and peculiarly, is a voting member of the committee. Downtown folks, sort of John Bircher, Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation president (day job, lawyer) KevinRead More →

Various things I found interesting After sorting through a 300-page collection of background information and committee minutes (plus some odds and ends from last week’s committee meeting), I made the following notes: Committee member Leanna Tyson says she does not often visit downtown and was unaware city parking lots exist. E.T. Mitchell said she only goes downtown on weekends (although she does attend aldermen meetings, which are Tuesday evenings). Five voting committee members represent city hall including the city clerk. I can’t recall a city clerk ever having a vote. At any rate, it would be unsurprising if these five voted as a single bloc.Read More →