Live-Blogging the Parking Forum 2.0

Parking Forum 2.0 baby! It’s on!

First the good news: “We do believe this should require at least one more session.” Yes! Parking Forum 3.0! [OB]

We open with a word cloud. In which every word is the same size except for ‘parking’, ‘management’, and ‘system’. Which are larger. Still, the cloud imagery is calming. [OB]

The Unitarian is the ideal venue for a parking forum, it bears pointing out. What other denomination has the resilience to accommodate the subtleties and contradictions of parking? [OB]

Ah, talk now turns to the mythical 9-hour meters. Yes, they exist. They are out there. And color-coding them would certainly help make their location more obvious. But wouldn’t that also level the playing field rather too much? [OB]

Prominent ‘Parking’ signs expected to be completed by spring. This should help visitors, if not residents…

Talking of creating a visitor’s map of Amherst that highlights parking and other attractions. Paging Rhys Davies… [OB]

Evidently there are areas that are ‘regulated by the absence of signs.’ This strikes one as a highly efficient form of regulation. Anyway, if there are no signs, you can park there. Assuming where the signs aren’t is on a street, presumably. [OB]

Here we go. The big ticket item. Talk of a new parking facility. Do we need it and where would it go. Must obtain new data. We think we have a lot of supply now but what of the future? May need to re-establish parking commission or parking committee to carry this forward. Don’t all jump up at once. [OB]

As for where… Confirmed that Boltwood Garage was constructed to support 2nd level. CVS lot another oppt. 1989-90 Facilities Study found that CVS lot was more suitable, but for a variety of reasons ‘which some of you are aware of’ (euphemism?) Boltwood was chosen instead. [OB]

Currently 328 rental units downtown. Adding 120 units, making up 4.5% of all town rental units downtown. Whatever this may mean… Anyway, parking forum 3.0 will be middle or end of March. Now, comment period! [OB]

Three comments in and Nick is already holding his head. Suffice to say that someone compared building a new parking garage to putting in a pipeline.

Tamsin Ely points out that the Mass Board of Library Commissioners recommends that public libraries have one parking place for each 400 sq ft of library space. Given current space, the Jones should have 200 parking places. If Jones is renovated, as is hoped, they’d need 300 places. If they can’t demonstrate they have parking, they have less chance of getting construction grant in which state would pay 50% of reno costs.

Dick Bentley. “You mentioned that plans for an earlier parking garage fell thru for reasons we’re all aware of. What is it we’re all aware of?” “It’s a long complicated answer,” is his answer. [OB]

We’ve lost Nick. After 20 years, he can’t hack it anymore. Parking forums are a young man’s game. [OB]

Mary Wentworth. We should have had all this discussion abt parking before the planning board decided to waive the parking requirements and allow these 2 huge buildings, with the 3rd abt to go up, in the downtown. I think the planning board and select board and town mgr must really be nuts to think that the residents of Amherst are going to pay tax money for the construction of a parking garage. It’s just not going to happen. [OB]

Sarah LaCour. BID director, town mtg member. We do need a garage, and it should be in the CVS lot. We can’t expect each new development to create their own parking. There’s simply no room to do that. If we did that we’d have no development of any kind. We have identified the need to put density in our village ctrs. That’s what we’re doing. And making sure we have parking to go w it is an important tandem step. [OB]

Final remarks include an older woman who is pushing public transport, and little electric cars. And a younger man who claims there’s a secret spot behind the Lone Wolf. Is he to be believed? I hope someone told Obama to postpone the SOTU… [OB]

And the winner is…

James Heflin takes home the 2nd Annual Amherst Live Poetry Prize!

Thanks to Matthew Duncan for his memorable performance of the poem Saturday night at the Kirby Theater, and to our audience for adjudicating the outcome. Here now is Heflin’s poem in full:

All West

At first I hardly noticed the itching of my heels.
I thought “bad socks” or “uh-oh! Fungus!”
I spotted a silver tip, subtle, undeniable,
nudging its way through the skin.
I thought, “What fair light in yonder window breaks now?!”

It wasn’t long till a couple more showed.
It got a little tough to explain my pacing
to the ladies in Accounts Receivable.
At last, upon flinging off my Florsheims,
the gig was up. Spurs. Silver. Clanky.

I’m not one to jump to conclusions,
but this struck me as unusual.
Why would I, so far from the prairie,
grow these rustic appendages?

No one seemed to catch the gleam beneath my cuffs,
but the itching wouldn’t stop.
Soon it was boots,
pointy-toed and creaky.
I was polishing like mad
all morning and night.
I figured a meeting with the gentleman
in the executive suite wasn’t far away.
Whispers filled the cubicles when I clunked by.

Soon enough, chaps sprouted and my knees spread.
A handlebar moustache waxed into curls that couldn’t be stopped.
My buckle weighed heavy and I pulled my Stetson low.
Somewhere out there I knew
was a cowboy fire and a cowboy cook,
and a cowboy airing out his feet while the cattle bedded down.

“Not long now,” I said to the horse, “it’s all West from here.”

Let’s make some leaders!

A special community announcement…

The deal: There’s a pretty cool house in town you may not know about. It’s called the ABC House (A Better Chance), on Prospect Street, and basically what the folks at ABC do is bring super-smart kids of color from crappy school systems to come live in Amherst and learn in our schools and participate in our community.

The upside: Our community benefits because our kids get to hang out with these driven and talented students. Their community benefits because ABC molds these students into leaders. And those leaders eventually benefit all of us. Deval Patrick is an ABC alum. So is the singer Tracy Chapman. And Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, the U.S. Rep in the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

The problem: Our ABC House recently got hit with funding cuts to the tune of about $20k. Their annual budget is around $100k, and they need to raise at least a third of that this Saturday, at their annual Fall Foliage Walk/Run. And so far, not nearly enough people have signed up.

Boom: Board president John Sieracki has described ABC as “a way people can act locally to directly combat institutional racism.” It’s this directness and localness that we really admire here at Amherst Live. That’s why we’ll be there for the Foliage Walk/Run this Saturday. Registration for the run begins at 8:30a, with the walk registration at 9a. Full details here.

See you there!

Amherst Live @ Amherst Poetry Festival

We have two poetry events happening Saturday, Sept. 20, as part of the Amherst Poetry Festival.

1) Amherst Live 2014 Poetry Prize Semi-Finalist Reading: From 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. at the Sweetser Park stage four of our ten talented semifinalists for the 2014 Amherst Live poetry prize will read their poems and field occasional questions from Amherst Live host Oliver Broudy. Readers include Jacob Chapman, Kathleen Kelley, Ingrid Steblea, and Gerald Yelle. Details here.

2) Amherst Live erotica poetry reading: The Amherst Live erotica poetry reading caps off the Saturday of the Amherst Poetry Festival. Please join us at The Monkey Bar, 63 North Pleasant Street, for this skin-tingling, language-enticing event. We’re pretty… ahem… excited about this one! We’ll mix readings and performances with diverting trials of wit and wordcraft, raunchy drink specials, and a smorgasbord of saucy prizes for the winners. Readers include Sally Bellerose, Nicole DiCello, Corwin Ericson, Daniel Hales, and Ellen LaFleche. Performance poet Adam Stone will host the event. $3 cover.

Check out the other events at the Amherst Poetry Festival, which takes place Sept. 19 – 21. A full schedule is available here.

Poetry Prize Semi-Finalists!

Congratulations to our 2014 Poetry Prize Semi-Finalists!

Jacob Chapman, Amherst
Lori Desrosiers, Westfield
Oonagh Doherty, Northampton
Shawn Durrett, South Deerfield
Adam Grabowski, Holyoke
James Heflin, South Deerfield
Kathleen Kelley, Florence
Connolly Ryan, Florence
Ingrid Steblea, Greenfield
Gerald Yelle, Amherst

Be sure to catch our poets at the Amherst Live portion of the Amherst Poetry Festival on September 20. In the coming weeks, two finalists will be chosen to appear in our January show.

Parking for 9/13 Amherst Live Show

The third issue of Amherst Live takes place 7pm, this Saturday, September 13, at Bowker Auditorium, UMass-Amherst. The event venue is circled in pink on the attached map.

Parking is free on all flat lots (green on the map) on the UMass campus on weekends. If you can’t find parking on a flat lot, the parking garage (orange on the map) charges $1.50/hr.