To the editor:
This is an outsider’s opinion, for what it is worth. I visit Newburyport frequently. Parking is probably the most important consideration for my visits and my activity in downtown. We go to Newburyport to eat, walk the boardwalk, look at real estate office windows, get a cup of of coffee, buy a magazine, etc.
When advocates of waterfront development say there is plenty of parking within a five-minute walk, the existing merchants and the NRA should know that I am not going to walk five minutes to visit any of their establishments. If parking is not very close, they can all forget me as a customer.
I would suggest maintaining 100 percent of the existing parking spaces. Yes, a little landscaping and a paved, well-lined lot would be wonderful. I am willing to pay for the parking convenience, which will also pay for the upkeep.
The development proponents talk about income that would be gained while completely ignoring the cost of lost business and the cost of building a public parking garage at some other location. My guess is that a new parking garage will cost a lot more than the tax income from 10, 20 or even 30 years of their waterfront development.