The new City Council in Galveston is talking about the possibility of having the Park Board of Trustees manage parking on the seawall.

That’s a relief.

It’s a good idea — but not a new one. It essentially gets the long-suffering Galveston voters back to where they stood two years ago.

The Park Board had done some preliminary work on a seawall parking plan early in 2012. However, the City Council that took over after the May 2012 elections had other ideas, at least some of which were unfortunate.

Island voters authorized the fee in a referendum. The whole idea was to generate revenue to make improvements on Galveston’s greatest asset: the seawall.

Voters were promised improvements they could see — showers, restrooms, drinking fountains. They were promised the money would not be siphoned off into salaries and benefits for city employees.

But the last council immediately hired new police officers, an impossibly heavy expense to charge against parking revenue. For two years, not much happened.

The city just recently installed some wash-off showers. That’s what most islanders wanted when they voted for the parking fee. What they want now is more amenities and fewer delays.

Putting this in the hands of the Park Board would be a good move.

Incidentally, when the Park Board was discussing seawall parking in early 2012, it turned up an intriguing idea. That was a proposal to ban parking on the south side of Seawall Boulevard and develop a series of parking lots served by shuttles.

The idea offers a solution to a significant long-range problem. Tilman Fertitta’s Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier has changed the face of the seawall. A developer also is proposing to bring back a development at the site of the old Balinese Room, which would put more pressure on the finite number of parking spaces along the seawall.

At the time, the Park Board noted the obvious problem: Galveston was trying to accommodate millions of visitors with about a thousand parking spaces on the seawall.

The Park Board saw, two years ago, that this problem would sooner or later discourage visitors.

It was refreshing then to hear a proposal to address long-range challenges before they get to be critical problems. That’s a conversation that’s worth having again.

(5) comments

Richard Moore
Richard Moore

"...ban parking on the south side of Seawall Boulevard and develop a series of parking lots served by shuttles."

Finally - a sensible strategy emerges! This approach has many advantages, not the least of which it would utilize "controlled access" parking which would not require police officers to operate, much easier and lower cost development of amenity infrastructure on north side of Blvd. in conjunction with the construction of the lots, increased aesthetics for South side of Blvd as well as space for bicycling, jogging, etc.

All the City Council needs to do is establish the no-parking zones and turn the rest over to the Parks Board!

Charles Brothers

I like it the way it is. I can keep an eye on my van while surfing. I even like the parking fee. Seaweed is the problem right now.

Steve Fouga

How does eliminating seawall parking help with the parking issue? Simply add the lots without eliminating ANY parking. More parking = better; less parking = worse.

George Croix

Perhaps a survey published in area newspapers, say, all the way to Huntsville or thereabouts, asking how many potential beachgoers would be willing to leave their automobiles at remote locations (presumably paying for it), unload all their beach gear and kiddies, reload it into a trolley/bus/shuttle, ride to the beach with other similarly packed people, unload it all, spend day at beach, time departure to catch shuttle, repeat above in reverse order except dirty and sweaty, might be useful.
Has this been done, or is Mr. Assume about to do his famous divide and re-define act?

GW Cornelius

Bad idea. Will not work and just plain stupid.

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