Putting the brakes on business

Stadium-area shopkeepers should be able to make use of available parking.

Stadium-area business owners are being unnecessarily restricted by the Minneapolis City Council in its quest to create a pedestrian friendly city. With the opening of the new stadium, area establishments âÄî bars, particularly âÄî have seen a windfall of new revenue. Unfortunately, not all businesses have been so lucky. Regulars have been cancelling reservations at sit-down establishments, and customers are going elsewhere to avoid the crowds. Dry cleaning is a lot less critical when 50,000 Gopher fans clog the way. The cityâÄôs Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District is the immediate culprit for this situation. It limits car-intensive activities within the area in order to create safer pedestrian streets. Such targets rightly include commercial parking lots. However, there are no short-term exemptions for game days, denying local business an alternate stream of revenue by prohibiting them from renting parking spots to fans. Worse, property owners are required to prevent non-customers from using their lots and can be fined should an errant tailgater escape their gaze, necessitating hired security or a wasted day fending off the circling cars. The City Council should allow business owners to rent their parking spots during designated special events at the stadium. In order to maintain the pedestrian-oriented corridor, such temporary licenses could require cars to arrive before and leave after the crush of fans flows in and out of the stadium. The city already changes traffic flow around the stadium during game days. Special arrangements ought to be extended to willing property owners for parking as well.