Simple solution to parking woes: Walk
Parking played a central role in two articles appearing in the Aug. 17 edition of the Cape Gazette. One concerned parking and related behavior on increasingly popular Lewes Beach. The other concerned parking issues as one consideration in a re-redevelopment proposal for the Celebration Mall complex - formerly Epworth United Methodist Church - in the ocean block of Rehoboth's Baltimore Avenue.
Both are a continuing affirmation of how auto-centric we are in our approach to beach life. The knee-jerk reaction in both instances is that to solve parking issues we need more parking.
But in both articles, at least two people suggested a more sane approach. In Lewes, a beach resident noted the problem is not a lack of parking. Rather, he said, there is a lack of walking. There are still plenty of parking spaces two blocks from the beach, but people want to jam themselves and their cars into a single block - or less - from the beach.
People are lazy, the resident said. They need to walk more and complain less.
In Rehoboth Beach, Celebration Mall owner Gene Lankford hit the nail squarely on the head. He talked about adding residential units to the former church complex, and a new 40-room hotel across the street next to his Atlantic Sands Hotel.
"Rehoboth is a walkaround resort," said Lankford. "These new condos and hotel give folks more options and more opportunities to come."
A walkaround resort. How beautiful that sounds. And for an oceanside city that occupies little more than a square mile, how true it rings. Substitute bayside for oceanside and the same could be said about Lewes.
Rehoboth has room for more people, but not room for more cars. The same goes in Lewes. When all the spaces are full, and more people want to go to the beaches and restaurants and Boardwalk and historic sites, they will use public transportation and they will walk more, and they will have a healthier and happier walkaround resort experience.