Lack of parking causes frustration in Canal Park

When visiting Duluth, one of the most common places to sight-see is Canal Park. As the name suggests, found there is a canal where people can watch boats on Lake Superior. Simultaneously, some say the name inaccurately depicts the ability to park. Most of the larger restaurants located along Canal Park Drive and Lake Avenue South provide private parking for their customers, but for pedestrians who just want to walk around and shop, parking is not as easy. Evelynn James, who lives in Minneapolis, comes to Duluth roughly four times a year because she loves to sit and watch the ships come in through the canal.

James said she has a difficult time finding parking when she wants to watch the boats and she often finds herself frustrated. In order to solve part of the parking problem, James suggests that the Canal Park Inn, a hotel in the area, should allow people to purchase day passes.

"There are always open parking spaces in [Canal Park Inn's] lot and it just seems pointless to not have people park there," she said. "The hotel wouldn't be losing money and more people would come to Canal Park if there were more places for them to park."

Mark Anderson, who traveled from Denver, Colo. to visit family, said he had to postpone his first trip to Canal Park three years ago due to a lack of parking spaces.

"I drove around for about 20 minutes up and down the streets just to find a parking spot," Anderson said. "It was a beautiful May day, so a lot of people were out and about and there was just nothing available.”

Anderson said that he eventually gave up and returned to his hotel. “This is a beautiful area and it's a shame that some people only experience Canal Park from their cars," he said.

Anderson suggests installing a small ramp in Canal Park to improve parking availability, but also said he understands that space is an issue.

"Looking around, I don't see much room to put a ramp," Anderson said. "They can't stick one out on the lake.”

Duluth officials did consider installing a parking ramp in 2003, but it remained an open issue at City Council meetings until it was finally taken off the agenda.

Duluth's most recent action to help the parking situation was in August 2009, when the Duluth City Council added parking kiosks to Canal Park.

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