Crawfordsville IN, to Drop Parking Meters


Crawfordsville IN, to Drop Parking Meters

I saw this a few seeks ago and blurred over it but an avid reader sent it to me with the following comment:

Think there might be a bigger reason than the parking
meters for not going donwtown?

I did a bit of research and think my correspondent may be correct.  Crawfordsville is a small town about a half hour plus drive from Indianapolis. They are charging 10 cents and hour for parking on street.I’m sure it costs more than that to collect the 10 cents.  People don’t come downtown because of a 10 cent charge?  I doubt it very much. Even Widow Dolph on her fixed income can afford a dime, probably even a quarter. My guess is that downtown Crawfordsville needs some reason for people to come down there.

OK, they have the CVS and the Walgreens, plus probably a  grocery store or two ad a couple of banks, but most of them have parking, off street. The people who need the onstreet parking, the small shops, jewelers, coffee houses, bars, and the like have their employees parking on street and taking up the parking. After all, at $16 a month, why not? 

I wonder if there is a Wal-Mart or a supermarket out on the edge of town with the usual supporting shops and restaurants. If so, downtown may be suffering from the fact that its simply easier and better to go to the Wal-Mart than come downtown.

The plan is to take out the meters and keep the 2 hour maximum parking limit. But how will they enforce that, they aren’t enforcing it now with the meters. Without the meters it will be license to steal parking in downtown Crawfordsville.

The merchants need to get together and invest in revitalizing downtown. They have a new drug store and library, how bout some sidewalk cafes, a weekly festival, a strolling musician or two? Crawfordsville might be just the right distance from Indianapolis for people to drive out in the evening for a nice dinner, or a stroll down memory lane. Who knows?

If you build it, they will come….

My humble suggestion is that the city fathers begin a bit of micromanaging and raise the parking fees to 50 cents a hour in two steps, first to a quarter and then in a year to 50 cents.  They should also begin a strong enforcement program, and ensure that all the folks who work downtown don’t park on the streets that are metered. Any monies that are generated can go into the programs for downtown.

They need a PR program to let locals park without using meters (they can have in car meters, permits, or whatever.)  Many may like the idea of having an in car meter.  It looks like they may have lost some metered spaces (probably from a lot they sold to CVS or Wallgreens.) 

They should then revisit the problem in a year and see if 50 cents is enough (or too much) to keep about 15 % of their on street spaces open. 

Someone took a tour of surrounding towns and found they removed their meters. But did anyone ask how parking was, and how the business people liked the new program of "free" parking?  Probably not. 

As you see in the entries below, most cities remove parking charges at their peril. It was a disaster in Brooklyn. Could be a problem in Indiana.


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John Van Horn

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