Trib staff writer J.B. Smith’s story about tourists patronizing HGTV reality stars Chip and Joanna Gaines’ insanely popular Magnolia Market at the Silos and parking congestion in already crowded lots around Second Street and Franklin Avenue prompted plenty of debate among our readers, many of whom made strong points. A sampling:
Bethany Edwina Jordan: I asked the city what they intend to do about the problem and they told me that “it’s just best to avoid the area.” I work downtown. I can’t avoid the area. And why should locals have to avoid a major section of their own city? The city needs to take care of its own before pandering to tourists.
Amber Zahirniak: Chip and Joanna need to buy their own parking lots with all the money they’re raking in.
Kyle Earley: Not one problem in these comments can’t be solved. Anyone try parking in the parking garage above the water department? It’s free. Or the field off Webster Avenue and University? Free shuttle ride. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The field is now closed to the public.] People complaining about walking? Try parking in a larger city and not have to walk. Can’t eat lunch? Sic’em Delivery will bring you any food you want for a few extra dollars. The city is growing, people. Adjust or get eaten alive by it.
Cindy Siepert Jackson: Am I the only one who has thought a parking garage would be a great idea? Three or four stories (or more) and charge about $10 and have a couple of shuttles or Trolleys looping the downtown area as the Silo Trolley does now.
A parking garage could make a fortune!
Tracey Clark: It isn’t just the merchants who are suffering. It isn’t fair to the employees who have to park blocks away. It isn’t safe for them to walk to their vehicles late at night.
Jill Folkert King: It’s a good “problem” to have, albeit annoying. We tried to go to Spice Village last Saturday and couldn’t find parking. Now that it’s apparent, hopefully Magnolia will step up and build a parking lot, either at the Silos or for trolley pickup.
Melissa Waden Wray: It’s not a good problem for the merchants and business owners whose employees and clients cannot park in their lots.
Jill Folkert King: It’s a good “problem” because they have a good flow of people to do the shopping and eating. It’s a fixable one too.
Kurt Krakowian: It’s horrible that one of the small-business owners, Olive Branch, is looking to hire a valet service just for its lunch crowd. Let’s all park at the Silos and use the businesses at River Square and downtown businesses.
Kyle Earley: Olive Branch is getting a ton of business from Silo people shopping at Spice Village and eating there since it’s right below it. I would think the cost to operate a valet service wouldn’t be cost effective.
Lauren J. Smith: Yeah, it’s terrible. I just want to be able to enjoy downtown again.
Steve Hunter: Yes, it was so vibrant 10 or 15 years ago.