Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saturday Parking Meters Fees Discourage Downtown Visitors

Last Saturday we shot the show Civil Discourse Now show at Aesop's Table, a restaurant located on Massachusetts Avenue near the intersection of that street with College Avenue.  After the show ended I stayed to eat lunch at the restaurant.  Good food.  I would recommend the restaurant.  Here is the problem, however.

Even though on-street parking was virtually empty, the meters were still in business, charging $1.50 an hour.  By the time the show and my meal was over, I had pumped $5.00 into the meters, of which $3.75 goes to ParkIndy, i.e. ACS, and $1.25 goes to the City per the 70%-30% split the City agreed to for the next 50 years.

The purpose of having parking meters, and setting them at a sufficiently high price, is to create turnover in parking places while not keeping the rates so high as to discourage people from visiting the businesses in the first place.  Often that means changing strategy as to those meters. For example, a few years ago, parking meters were taken out of the Fountain Square area in an effort to draw business to that community.  As that area becomes more popular, the City might reconsider and reinstall meters in order to prevent people from "squatting" on parking spots.

Likewise, it was apparent that the area of Mass Avenue I was on that Saturday did not need metered parking and that it was counter to the need of businesses in that area to draw customers.

Unfortunately by entering into a 50 year contract, the city has locked itself into inflexibility when it comes to meeting the delicate balance between the need for turnover and the need to draw customers to an area, customers who won't be turned off by increasingly expensive on-street parking.


neal smith said...

I've been ripped off twice by these things. Checked and double checked that the meters were right. Still got tickets. And guess what: NO RECOURSE! I don't like trying to navigate downtown anyway. Unless it's absolutely necessary, I don't go downtown. If I can take a bus, I will, but only if I HAVE to go.

Downtown Indy said...

I haven't been downtown since the new weekend rules took effect. Well, except riding through on bicycle, that is.

I know the new commercial entity is doing a swarm-of-locusts routine on curbside parking.

My best defense is to go elsewhere. As a result, I don't have any worries about what will be on my windshield when I return.