Is there a parking problem in Armory Square? Businesses and customers weigh in

The eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and businesses in Armory Square has made it one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Syracuse. However, parking continues to get a lot of attention from businesses and guests.

Like many others, Jim Murphy enjoys meeting friends in Armory Square for lunch or drinks - but he can be frustrated by the parking options.

"I think sometimes it can be (frustrating). There's a lot of things downtown you want to get to, there's great restaurants and a lot of activity. When I come down sometimes it's really difficult, because I don't think there's enough parking."

Recently, Joette's Boutique closed its doors. The owner cited parking issues as one of the main reasons for leaving. A few years ago, the City of Syracuse extended the grace period on expired parking to ten minutes after people complained, and Onondaga County recently opened up 100 free spots in the "Trolley Lot" behind the Museum of Science and Technology.

Now many businesses say parking concerns are minor, and that area garages and nearby streets provide plenty of options.

"It's prime real estate here in Armory Square and people want to be here, because of the crowds, because of the traffic,â?? says the Armory Square Associationâ??s Tony Ortega.

Joel Shapiro, who has successfully run Armory Square clothing retailer Mr. Shop for more than 20 years, says the parking there is easier than what people deal with at the mall.

"You can find a parking place that is closer to a store in Armory Square at any time - day or night - than you can at Destiny," he says.

Shapiro says the recent growth around Armory Square is proof that the area does not have a real parking problem. "If you go to Manhattan, there is a parking problem. In Downtown Syracuse it really is a joke."

Many businesses are saying that empty streets would be a much bigger problem, and that even if people have to walk a block from their car, it is good to see the area thriving.