A Few Photos of Downtown Business Owners

The Santa Cruz Downtown Garage with Library:
Business owners critique garage plan
(Click on any of the blue links below to read what that individual has to say.)
Paul Cocking, Gabriella Cafe

After 25 years in business downtown I have heard very few complaints about parking or the library. Santa Cruz needs more homeless services, affordable apartments an event space, and more events. I'm not happy about moving our popular Farmers' Market to an inferior location.

– Paul Cocking, Gabriella Cafe  

Salon on the Square
Lauren McLaughlin, Salon on the Square

I feel putting in a new parking garage on top of a new library is not at all the right move for building a visionary downtown in Santa Cruz. Our downtown is already quite congested with cars and there are a number of other options to explore regarding transportation and parking. Speaking with several of our clients and my coworkers, I'm hearing that they had no idea voting to fund renovations to our existing library could result in replacing the open space for the Farmer's Market with a multi story parking structure.

– Lauren McLaughlin, Salon on the Square  

Bubb Berdels, Berdels

I think we need to be smarter about managing our current parking situation before we make a large financial commitment towards a new garage.

– Bubb Berdels, Berdels  

Curt Simmons, Plaza Lane Optometry

When I think about Santa Cruz building a very large new parking structure downtown, I think about the message; “Driving is the best way to get around and we want to encourage it”. This is not forward thinking. It flies in the face of what we know about our future with climate change and the looming presence of autonomous vehicles. Rick Longinotti has described how other cities have successfully reduced demand for employee parking. It makes sense to try these methods before committing prime real estate and vast amounts of money to perpetuate and encourage a transportation model that is not sustainable.

– Curt Simmons, O.D., Plaza Lane Optometry  

Janis Baldwin, Pure Pleasure

It would be such a loss to lose the last open space downtown to have public events like the Wednesday Farmer's Market, Antique Fair, and Pride. There are so many better solutions to our parking and library space needs.

– Janis Baldwin, Pure Pleasure  

Leopoldo Santos, Retro Paradise

Businesses like mine that don't supply their own parking pay “deficiency fees” in the Parking District. I'm concerned about the impact of an expensive new garage on our fees.

– Leopoldo Santos, Retro Paradise  

Lisa Graham, Agile Monkey Pilates Studio

I am strongly against the proposed parking garage, and the consequences for the library and farmers market. This plan is far too costly for something that does not actually improve the experience of being downtown and I also believe it is shortsighted given the trends in transportation. My business has been downtown for over a decade and clients don’t chose my business because of the parking options—clients come because they feel there is a value in the experience of being here. Many of our clients and employees chose to walk or ride their bikes and those that drive always manage to park without problems. I believe that the focus should be on keeping the city clean, beautiful and nicely illuminated, utilizing the existing parking, improved bike access and an increase in downtown walkability.

– Lisa Graham, Agile Monkey Pilates Studio  

Noelle Antolin & Stuyvie Bearns, Lupulo Craft Beer House

The proposed garage appears to us a dated and short-sighted concept that will not only create more congestion but will also fragment and diminish the character of our downtown. As many academic studies have noted, social and technological changes are quickly changing the face of transportation and the huge investment needed to fund this project could very well be obsolete in less than a decade. We feel that the City of Santa Cruz should better manage our existing parking and continue to focus on bike-friendly streets, downtown walkability, and public transportation.

– Noelle Antolin & Stuyvie Bearns, Lupulo Craft Beer House  

Lesley & Michael Tierra, East West Herb and Acupuncture Clinic

As downtown business owners for over 30 years, we've seen many changes over that time. It would be a shame to see our city center transformed by a proposed multi-leveled parking garage when there's such a greater need for upgrading roads, sidewalks, parking lots and overall beautification of the downtown area in general. Our focus should be on lowering negative environmental impact since we have the green technology to create the type of city that can absorb future growth without clogging our streets with more vehicles. Bike trails, free environmentally friendly public transportation to and from downtown not only for tourists but for shop owners/workers as well. The downtown experience could be an elevated for everyone by implementing a few of the suggested changes by the committee and by business owners. And we wouldn't be spending $45 million towards another concrete structure to house more fossil fuel-spewing vehicles.

– Lesley & Michael Tierra, East West Acupuncture Clinic  

Ashleigh Keller, Rare Bird Salon

We need to restructure the parking permit program so that permit holders pay by the day rather than by the month. When employees pay for a month of parking in advance, you create an incentive to drive and park every day. We can do a better job of using our existing parking resources.

– Ashleigh Keller, Rare Bird Salon  

Wade Hall, Spokesman Bicycles

We are at a technological crossroads: electric bikes, car shares, Lyft and Uber — so many new transportation concepts here and on the near horizon. Imagine how absurd it would have been if the City put in a 5-story horse barn with a 30 year mortgage just as the automobile age was beginning.

– Wade Hall, Spokesman Bicycles  

Nicole Ammerman, Go Ask Alice

With the savings from not building a garage, let's do something about our homeless problem. The homeless problem affects my business more than parking availability.

– Nicole Ammerman, Go Ask Alice  

Paul Speraw, Metavinyl

I would like to see a vibrant downtown with more pedestrians, cyclists and alternative transportation options--not more cars, more traffic and more emissions. Before the city decides to build a $37 million parking garage, it should give the alternatives a chance to solve our parking needs.

– Paul Speraw, Metavinyl  

Loretta Sapino, Thrifty Cuts Barber Shop

Building a new garage would be a big financial risk for downtown businesses. If we hit a recession, the debt on the garage would still need to be paid. Before taking on that risk, we need to pursue other alternatives.

– Loretta Sapino, Thrifty Cuts Barber Shop