Parking Limited in Growing Depot - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/29/04

Parking Limited in Growing Depot

The idea of turning old warehouses into nightclubs has proved successful in the Depot District. On any given weekend the area is booming with people... but it's the parking that's not growing with the nightlife. As more establishments open, patrons are parking further and further away.

Lubbock's Depot District is Booming
May marks the ten year anniversary of the Depot District, and over the last ten years the area has undergone quite a face lift. New establishments are popping up this spring, but according to those in the district there is still room to grow.

"We just had to park clear at least a block and a half away over there and we got stopped by random guys. It's not safe number 1, number 2 they need more spots," Kasey Covey, one Depot goer said.

"We also had to park really far away. And last week when it was raining we ended up parking behind some bar where there were hardly any lights and it was scary we had to walk down the ally to come over here so it's really not safe and also, I don't think it's good for people who've been drinking," said Kenna Swinney, one Depot goer.

The majority of the parking available for Depot goers, are lots the businesses have leased from offices that are closed at night. In other words, they are parking lots that aren't necessarily designed for night parking, with little lighting for security.

"It's terrible you have to drive for like blocks to find a spot and you have to park way out there by yourself and if your a girl its kinda scary. I think it's scary because there is like barely anything right here," Shelley Smith who hangs out in the Depot said.

Almost every girl we found had a similar story, and we caught plenty of them walking through dark alleys or dimly lit parking lots. So what needs to happen and what's being done about it?

"The establishments themselves will be the ones to have to put the lights up. We are concerned about that we do patrol that area and they are keeping a close eye. We have not had a lot of problems in that area but the potential is there and we want to try to keep an eye on it real closely," says Officer Bill Casey with the Lubbock Police Department.

Officer Casey says they patrol the area regularly in units, on bikes and sometimes on horses. But that doesn't change the situation.

"There's not enough spaces but that's good because like you said there are 11 bars on the strip here so it's more convenient for people to get a taxi cab and get dropped off," Bart Arnold, a Depot goer said.

"I think the less parking there is the more inclined people will be to be safe, somebody's going to get a designated driver," Nathan Voight a Depot goer said.

According to the City, they've done there part. They've beautified the area with brick side walks and greenery, and they've been lenient on the parking requirements to help boost the growth.

"As a result there is a little bit of difficulty in finding parking that you don't find in areas where there is new construction. But that was in an overall effort to try to revitalize the area and get people to come down there,"said Damon Richards, Depot District Association President.

The other solution would be to tear down every other vacant building, or possibly build a parking garage. "I think it'd be great if a parking garage would be, I think that'd be fantastic. But you have to look at the economics of it," Richards said.

"Lubbock is small enough but big enough from a parking standpoint, its big enough to have a parking problem where we are at now but it's small enough that it would be hard for people to want to have to pay for parking. And to me that's the only maybe solution," Owner of Klusoz Kurt Villard said.

One effort to brighten the area is obvious, they've decorated one alley with a ray of light, but people that frequent the area say more needs to be done.

Officer Casey does have a few recommendations to increase safety. He says to always walk in groups, never stop near people you don't know, and have your car alarm or cell phone handy if needed. He also added be aware of your surroundings and hide purses or any other things in your car of value.

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