Chicken or Egg Syndrome


Chicken or Egg Syndrome

I always love it when downtown businesses make this statement in the pay to park “argument”;

 “It’s simple: If they drive people away from downtown, the surrounding companies will go under, and eventually absolutely no one will be there to fill their parking lots and garages”

 There’s no debate that without businesses to attract cars there would be no need for parking lots or garages, but without the parking lots or garages there would be no businesses either.  Why do they always think that the parking operations are the cause of all their problems and that they should shoulder the economic burden of offering discounts to help increase other people’s business?  I constantly hear and read on the various Blogs that the cost of parking is killing business in downtown, businesses that have invested their hard earned money to try and bring life back into downtown. Do they actually think that parking lots and garages appear for free, that there is no investment involved?

Shopping malls and strip centers with acres of free parking are losing tenants and closing down on an almost daily basis. Obviously something other than the dark forces of paid parking is causing this to happen, but what that might be seems to be a mystery. How about this;

Between 1990 and 2005, the amount of retail space per capita in the U.S. doubled, from 19 to 38 square feet. In contrast, European countries generally have less than 10 square feet per person. This level of expansion has not been supported by population and income growth. Since the early 1990s, per capita retail spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased by only about 14 percent.”

I’m no economic genius by any stretch of the imagination, but I think this might be a clue. Can anybody say “supply and demand”?

Mark Rimmer…






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