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PARKING IS A MAJOR HASSLE DOWNTOWN

The question should not be whether Starbucks should open on Elmwood Avenue, but why it hasn't located downtown. As a resident close to the downtown area, I can only conclude that the marketing department of Starbucks has decided that downtown is dying or nearly dead.

If that is the case, perhaps the politicians in City Hall should ask themselves if they have instituted any policies that are adversely affecting the life of downtown. Any concerned and knowledgeable resident, businessman or visitor could say that the unreasonable cost of parking has had a great affect.

In this metropolitan area, where malls are only minutes away with a huge variety of stores and free parking, why would anyone visit downtown with its meager choices andextra costs?

But it isn't only the parking-meter costs that have driven away shoppers. Several years ago, City Hall decided to use parking enforcement to enhance revenue. As a result, expensive parking tickets were given more aggressively, the parking bureau expanded, revenue increased and the shoppers that once vitalized downtown stopped coming.

With the disappearance of shoppers, the stores closed. Of course this is not the only reason downtown is experiencing economic trouble, but it has contributed to the problem.

Buffalo officials must realize that they are in competition for shoppers and entry-level employees. The free parking that suburban malls and businesses offer and their easy access is competition for the city. Downtown businessmen cannot compete fairly if the city is enforcing policies that discourage both employees and customers.

It has been said that the metropolitan area cannot prosper if the city dies. On a much smaller scale, if the downtown core dies then the remaining avenues leading to it will also die.

The Elmwood Avenue commercial strip must see that it is tied to the life of downtown.

Jay Tillotson
Buffalo

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