Archive for Downtown

View from Urbannight’s Apt

Posted in Life, Photography, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2016 by urbannight


The Trials and Tribulations of Tribbles . . . . er, make that Parking

Posted in Apartments, Life with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by urbannight

The Old Market is this funky, old, revitalized part of the city.  It is literally the original heart of Omaha.  Businessmen on the Iowa city of the river wanted to control both sides when the railroad went through and decided to build Omaha.  Omaha is a city and the Iowa side is just a sprawling large town.  Not very city-like at all.  Funny how that happens.

The Old Market is this blend of high end apartments and small affordable lofts.  Every other business is a restaurant or bar.  There are lots of art galleries and a year round Christmas store.  There are also a large number of hair salon’s in this very small space.  The rest is a blend of funky odds and ends stores, a smattering of clothes and shoes, two music stores, and the odd junk store (not to be confused with the odds and ends stores).

The streets are bricked streets with a horrible patchwork of asphalt.  Last year a water main break resulted in large lines of brick being torn up to run above ground lines while they did major repairs and upgrades to the water lines.  They were talking about starting to repair and restore the brickwork this fall but I’ve not seen evidence of it.  It will probably get pushed back until after this winter.

The only real problem with this area is parking.  The apartments in the area have no dedicated parking.  You can rent parking from some of the open parking lots or the covered parking garage.  Good luck getting on the waiting list.  When I called the woman was so offended that I was asking about it and irate that the apartment manager told us that they offered monthly parking rental.  The interesting thing is that they have a giant sign saying they offer monthly parking over the entrance to the garage.  It isn’t a big secret. 

So the vast majority of us park on the street.  This is all metered parking.  It isn’t so bad because I have an office job so I’m gone during the times when the meters are required.  But if I’m sick I have to decide if I’m sick enough to pay 6$ to move my car into one of the lots.  Otherwise it’s go plug a meter every two hours.  Not something you want to bother with when sick.  If you go out to the street at about 5:00 am and take a look at the cars parked on the street you get a feel for how many people who live there but are not renting parking slots. 

All this brings us up to the crucial point.  Across from my building an architecture firm went in.  The city came out and painted parking slots into the old loading zone in front of the building.  We kept waiting for the No Parking Loading Zone Only signs to come down and were expecting parking meters to go up.  They never did.  For 2 years people parked there with no problem.  No one cared.  City let it be. 

At the start of this year the business started to put signs on cars that it there was no parking there.  The funny thing is that this business has no deliveries.  The biggest things anyone has seen delivered there since they opened are scrolls of blue prints the people occasionally see carried in.  What they really meant was that there was no public parking there and it was reserved for the employees of the business.  Fine.  Whatever.  For 8 months people were allowed to park there after the business day ended and on weekends. 

This month that changed.  The police started ticketing people who parked there at anytime for parking between no parking signs.  This week the city came down to repaint all the parking slot lines again.  Again, they refreshed and repainted those parking slots that fill in the old loading zone.  But they are ticketing people who park in those freshly painted parking spots. 

Are they also ticketing the employees of that business who park there?  There is nothing to mark it as reserved for employees.  It is marked as a loading zone only.  Which is also strange as other loading zones in the area are marked as no parking between certain hours.  But it is ironic if they are ticketing the employees for parking between two no parking signs since that business was trying to use it as their own parking. 

I have one important question.  Why does the city keep painting parking slots there if they don’t want people to park there? 

Turnover Downtown

Posted in Apartments with tags , , , on August 2, 2010 by urbannight

I live in a revitalized area called the Old Market.  For some reason, when retail businesses fail, a bar or restaurant goes in.  My theory is that the shops are to expensive.  The hotels in this area cater mostly to business travel.  Those people are not shopping so much.  The apartments in this area fall into two classes.  Expensive condo’s and low income lofts.  The shops are not the type to get a lot of steady traffic from the wealthier people in the area.  And the majority of people who can afford the prices live out west and are afraid to come downtown to the Old Market. As a result, food and drink is more successful than retail.

I had a coworker ask me if I was afraid of getting mugged.  Most of the muggings I’ve ever heard about were at the major malls or out west.  This area is cool.  Sure, you get a lot of panhandlers.  But as far as crime goes, it isn’t too bad.  The area is very small and we gave horse back cops and bicycle cops.  If you take the size of the area, about 3 blocks wide by 6 blocks long, we actually have a higher police to population ratio than other parts of towns.

I have what I thought of as a small loft.  But when I read about the apartment sizes in other countries for people who are more successful than myself, I realize I have a what some people would consider a nice spacious apartment.  A nice apartment in Hong Kong for someone who makes more than I do is about 200 square feet smaller than what I have.  American’s in general think we need more space than so many other cultures.

My building is an old warehouse converted to lofts.  It had cool internal architecture that is part of the atmosphere of the place.  But there are no side windows as the buildings were all against each other.  One side is exposed, but I don’t think it always was.  The result is the units have windows only on one wall.  The one that faces the street and the one that faces the alley.

People facing the street have been here for a couple years or more.  I’m on my third year and the people on either side have been here longer.  The people with windows over the alley have a high turnover.  Considering the company requires you to sign a year lease each year, the unit across from me has had significantly more people in it than that.

I have a theory on that as well.  If you have a window that only opens onto an alley, right over the dumpsters, would you want to stay there for very long?