23 May 2008

What if they built a parking garage and nobody came?

To no one's great surprise, it seems the state has squandered public funds again.

In building its spanking new Capitol complex, which has all the tourist allure of a bathtub, the state decided, in its wisdom, to construct a "Capitol Visitor Center" for the throngs of tourists expected to come and take in the arid bureaucratic sights of state office buildings. And to this end, our solons understood that all these tourists would need someplace to park, though along with the Capitol complex two gigantic parking garages have already been constructed so far (guess those are for state workers only). So the state went ahead and built a third, smaller garage - a 'visitor's center' garage.

I watched as the state build it, and it opened about a month ago. A nice, very clean and modern structure, designed with the Art Deco decorative motifs of the rest of the complex. A great place to store your car for a couple of hours. Should be great for the tourists.

Look at the teeming throngs:

Those four cars (including mine) were the sum total of the garage users today. I felt really sorry for the poor parking attendant. Must be a lonely job. But it's easy money, to sit around doing nothing all the time, so I guess I can't shed too many tears.

This garage, though, has some compensations - it provides excellent views of the river and the downtown area. Let's mosey on up to the deserted fifth level (the elevators could talk, too! They spared no expense):

Not too many cars up here, either.

This garage is located adjacent to some state office buildings, about a block from the state library (a hard walk in the May humidity) which you have to walk around to enter since the single entrance (it's called 'sealing the perimeter' by our friends in the TSA) faces away from the river, and just around the corner from the visitor center. The whole vicinity of those few blocks sports the clean and arid feel of bureaucratic sterility. Oh, by the way, there's a huge ass utility facility smack between the garage and the visitor center. Be proud, bureaucrat planners, of your subpar efforts.

On Mardi Gras parade days, which comes around once or twice a year, the garage will be filled to capacity since it sits directly on the parade route. Kudos to the advanced planning of the state solons!