City comes to its parking senses


City comes to its parking senses

Pittsfield, MA, has a regulation that says that a theater with 900 seats must have 250 parking spaces.  The Berkshire Eagle, local paper, seems to feel this is a good idea as it says:

The Berkshire Museum, the proposed cinema center on North Street, the Berkshire Music Hall on Union Street, and the restaurants that are emerging to serve visitors to these cultural attractions will all bring people downtown, yet few of these institutions have or will have sufficient parking.

Read the entire article, here

The inference is that the city regulation is sacrosanct. The town fathers and mothers have, however, done the right thing, probably for the wrong reasons. They approved the theater, and said they hope that people will park far away and walk through the downtown area to the theater.

The theater owners, however, have the right idea.  They have 50 spaces, and are already negotiating with local businesses to use their unused parking space during off hours. They also note that there are over 100 spaces on street nearby.

Lets see how it could work:  The theater cuts a deal with local merchants to use unused parking spaces (pays for them) in the evenings.  It charges the parkers a going rate and compensates the merchants for the space, probably making a bit of a profit. Everyone happy so far.

As for the 100 on street spaces, the city could set up a way to collect for those spaces, returning the money to the people who live and work around those spaces in the form of improvements on the streets and sidewalks. Once again everyone happy.

And — the city kept its middling hands out of the private business of the theater, the local merchants, and everyone else.  Once again, everyone happy.

Well done, Pittsfield, MA.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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