Monday, August 25, 2008

Parking Meters in Downtown - Proposed as part of 2008-2009 Budget

Above are pages from the proposed budget which shows a new addition to the city, at least for the time that I have lived here. As far as I can remember, I don't recall parking meters in the downtown. In the budget projections above, there is no itemization of the number of spaces/meters - other than a rough cost estimate of almost $.5 million. The meters are supposed to work in twelve hour cycles, along with the staff to watch them. If you think about the pattern of use in our downtown over the course of day, it is greatly weighted to the evening hours. So does that mean that the meters start working at noon and go to midnight? If anything, we should be encouraging daytime uses in our downtown - or traditional retail stores.

This might serve as a motivating factor for the merchants, restaurant and property owners to come together and organize programs that might include parking validation and the like. If we do end up going to this alternative - which in this sort of economic climate isn't wise - we should combine it with other policies about transportation in and out of the downtown. We will need other transportation alternatives including community bikes, available of rental cars on-demand in the downtown, etc. - all in an effort to be a leader in the green revolution. If we don't pair it with other programs and policies to support, it ends up being an empty new program that will take business from the downtown.

Let's think about this and do some PLANNING before jumping into implementation.