Free parking is the prime reason malls have grown so mightily over the years. Predatory parking enforcement in the downtowns might prove the death knell for a great many small merchants there unless it’s checked. Parking tickets are no small things for these enterprises. It’s really about time this economic threat is recognized — and acted upon.
The quote above from a columnist at the Moderate Voice blog is typical of knee jerk reaction to the reasons why malls have grown and downtowns have atrophied. Read the entire article here
Of course this is absurd. In Los Angeles, for instance, the two newest major malls in the city (The Grove and Americana at Brand) plus two major successful existing malls (Century City and Beverly Center) all charge for parking. That hasn’t kept people away. They come because there is a reason to go there.
Downtown Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade is hugely successful and its six parking structures charge for parking. People go to the beach, but the county charges for parking. People go see the ball game, the Hollywood bowl, Disneyland, Universal – they all charge for parking. Why are they successful? Because people want to go there.
Why do downtowns fail? Because people don’t want to go there. If you want to make your downtown successful, make it so people want to go there. Santa Monica, Old Pasadena, Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Atlanta Station, South Beach in Miami, Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Pikes Place Market in Seattle, they all charge dearly for parking and are extremely successful.
I love it. The writer above complains about predatory parking enforcement. I certainly agree – Set the rules so they fit the situation. Then enforce the rules. If you don’t like them, fine. Call a meeting, get some facts and input, and then change them. But to stop enforcement of the rules “just cuz” is ridiculous.