I love Durango’s historical Main Avenue with its wide sidewalks, mature trees, historical buildings, four lanes of traffic that make is accessible and parking along the curbs. It is a successful, vibrant business center. It is the heart of the town.
Today, it looks more like a carnival midway with a hodgepodge of structures in the street.
Between College Drive and 10th Street, there are 39 parking spaces that are being used for everything from dining, eating candy, sitting and relaxing, renting RVs, selling carpets and more. These spaces are 12’ x 20,’ or 240 square feet. At the reasonable rate of $20 per square foot (assuming these structures are only there for six months), the fair lease rate for this period should be $2,400 per space.
So, for 39 spots, the city is giving free rent valued at $93,600! They are also giving up parking meter fees, ticket revenue and sales tax from the people who could have parked on Main Avenue and spent money downtown. They are making if more difficult for people to come downtown by eliminating two lanes of traffic. I realize that the current city thinking is that everyone should ride a bike or walk, but not everyone can do that. It discriminates against elders, county residents, regular visitors from New Mexico, tourists and more.
It is time to end these bump-outs and restore Main Avenue to the charming, vibrant and accessible business district that it was. They served their purpose during the pandemic.