Easy drives to the store or restaurant and easy parking have long been a benefit of living in Gardendale. As growth increases and more retail and restaurants focus on Gardendale as a gem of a place to open a business, the natural progression is more people, more traffic and a more difficult time finding parking.
It’s not just more people moving to Gardendale. It’s also more Gardendale residents staying in Gardendale to eat and shop because they have more choices.
The recent opening of Taziki’s in the building at 430 Fieldstown Road that also houses Brookwood Baptist Health, is an example of new parking challenges that may be inevitable in a city that is becoming the hot spot for business growth in North Jefferson County.
Several visits by The Gardendale News over multiple days in a recent week during the lunch hours between 11am and 2pm found few parking spaces available in the main parking area.
Recently, a second parking area was developed for the building, picture shown above, that was made at quite a distance below main road level. To park in this area, a customer would have to park down in the gravel parking lot and then climb up a steep stairway up to street level and then take a new sidewalk past an empty lot for sale, past AmFirst Credit Union and then into the main parking lot for the building.
How convenient this secondary lot will prove to be for patrons remains to be seen.
According to a city source, who spoke to The Gardendale News, it has been recommended that the parking lot be for employees of the tenants of the building which would leave the main parking lot for customers.
Even with this secondary parking lot and a recommendation that employees use it for parking, there are few spaces open in the main lot during the peak time for lunch as Taziki’s is a popular lunch spot and Brookwood Baptist Health is open for patients.
This is before a newly announced and soon to open restaurant, Taco Mama, opens in the building later this summer.
The city source we spoke to said that the City of Gardendale has a study that shows that any potential parking issues, since Brookwood Baptist Health is only open certain hours of the day, would be a concern only 23% of the time.
It’s not clear whether the study included the secondary parking lot in arriving at the 23% calculation.
It can be challenging at times to find a parking space during peak times now at the building. It is reasonable to expect that with the addition of a popular restaurant like Taco Mama adding to the choices in that building, that patrons may soon find themselves either waiting in their car for a spot to open or having to decide about having to park down in the secondary lot and make the challenging walk to their lunch spot.
Similar parking issues can be seen in other cities like Hoover, and they are a part of higher growth.
More retail and restaurant options help keep residents in Gardendale and help attract new residents and, of course, they grow the tax base and should also be good for existing Gardendale businesses.
But easy drives and easy parking. We may now be experiencing the beginning of the end of those in Gardendale.