Approximately 125 local residents met with the City Dock Advisory Committee Thursday evening to discuss a new vision for downtown, weighing such things as parking concerns against pedestrian walkways, and showing approval and disapproval with green and red dots.
Chris Jakubiak, an urban planner hired by the city, kicked off the evening with a short film showcasing the pedestrian center of downtown Copehagen, Denmark.
He and landscape architect Greg Burell were brought in to help lead the 25-member team working to produce the master plan for City Dock.
"I'm enchanted with this Copenhagen plan, but I don't see how it could work here," Joe Cohen said. "That really means a really enormous commitment of time and money. You call it aspirational; I call it unrealistic."
The committee presented a “Visions and Guiding Principles” document to in July 2011, and it has developed three different approaches to redevelop the space since then.
CDAC members setup nine stations where people could break into smaller groups to look over maps showing its tentative ideas.
Around the room CDAC members encouraged people to think less about the practicality of the ideas, and more about whether they liked them at all.
The groups were given markers, Post-It Notes and sticker dots. Red dots meant the group didn't like a particular feature while green dots meant they approved.
Several groups placed red dots over the roundabout that connects Main St., Compromise St. and Market Space.
Lois Kelberman said, "It takes up too much walking space."
Two of the plans would removed the roundabout and convert it into a T-intersection.
Kelberman was also in favor of eliminating nearly all the parking lots around City Dock because "it would be easier to have festivals and events."
Cindy Radulovich said she is a big proponent of converting a majority of the parking downtown into pedestrian space.
"We need to leave some handicap parking spots," Radulovich said. "I have an elderly parent who likes to come downtown."
CDAC member Chris Schein emphasized that all three approaches would keep the short-term parking that surrounds the businesses on Market Place.
But how many mid-term parking spaces will stay was a sticking point for several groups.
It was also a contentious issue on Annapolis Patch. More than 80 people responded to Patch's question Wednesday about whether City Dock should become a park, and 57 percent said yes.
CDAC member and owner of Watermark Cruises Debbie Gosselin said she was concerned about what a lack of parking would do to downtown businesses.
"If you had to go somewhere and take a shuttle in, would you choose that place as your first choice for lunch or dinner," Gosselin said.
Jakubiak said the goal of the meeting was not to introduce the public to three plans, but to three ideas.
"These meeting will be critically important as citizens will drive the ultimate plan for City Dock," Jakubiak said. "We want broad citizen engagement and a strong dialogue."
The next public meeting will be Sept. 13.
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