Finding support for paid parking


Finding support for paid parking

The parking industry needs to come up with an argument that actually works. Intellectually, I see how paid parking creates turnover, reduces circling, and increases use. But telling people paying for parking is good for business is like telling toddlers they should eat creamed spinach because it’s good for their bones – they don’t get it and they don’t care. I’m not a toddler, but as the owner of my very own wallet, I want free parking.

The City of Lynchburg is hoping to drum up support for paid parking. The instigators, I mean, officials, in favor of paid parking hope local business owners will argue the case. Read more here.

So far, it’s just a wish and a dream. One reader commented:

So, here we go again! They simply cannot pull themselves away from the lure of taking more money out of the downtown visitor’s pocket! “You, as a city, really have your strongest hand tied behind you because you can’t manage on-street parking,” Replace the word “manage” with the word TAX, because another tax is exactly what this amounts to.

People need a better reason to support paid parking. The environment is a hot button for me – tell me paid parking reduces emissions and I might feel better about it. Tell me the money will, without fail, be used for a worthy cause like streets or schools, and I might like that. Tell me paid parking actually makes my downtown area more desirable for some tangible reason, and I might choke it down.



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John Van Horn

5 Responses

  1. Why sugar coat it. They want your money. There is no reason – no justification. They just want it.
    And they are going to take it. You know why – because it doesn’t really matter.
    Your not going to leave your car at home and take the bus, your not going to walk/ride from a less convenient (free) park to your destination.

    They are going to offer you a park where you want it and they are going to charge you for it.
    We are all adults – so we should call things for what they are.

    I wan’t my son to finish his dinner, he doesn’t want to finish – he doesn’t understand why he should, and while it may be in his benefit – I basically do it to set rules and stick to them.
    So he shakes his head, shouts about how he is being injustice……..but you know what he still finishes eating……… because what he is complaining about is actually not a big enough problem.

    I expect the same has and will happen with paid parking. But eagerly await people proving me wrong and finding other means to their destinations.

  2. I look at a lot of things as taxes but not this. To me paid parking is a user fee. A tax is something that everyone contributes to even if they do not partake. The land, pavement, curb, signs, enforcement, cleaning, snow removal, all cost money that taxes pay for. If you charge for it the users pay for it not the tax payers. The problem comes when the city does not properly manage the parking or the money does not go into improving the transportation experience for the users. IF the money just gets gobbled up by the general fund and used for other things then it is a tax. So if you do not charge for it parking is a tax because your tax money is going to support the service and will need to continually be increased to pay for the every increasing cost of the expenses mentioned above. If you charge for it parking is a service paid by the user fee not tax money.

  3. Why does the industry has to change simply because people don’t like to pay for parking? The fact of the matter is that paid parking does do all of the things you listed. Its a proven model. It hasn’t changed in the 80 odd years that the parking meter has been around.

    The only change that is necessary, and huge mission goal of IPI, is to give the professionals a chance to educate people. Most of the municipalities that struggle with parking usually have one thing in common. They don’t have a dedicated parking professional to run the operation.

    Most of us professionals understand the need to get stakeholder input before pushing policy. But without a professional to lead this charge, a lot of municipalities get it wrong, and it gives the entire industry a bad rep.

  4. I have found a very interesting by-product of parking enforcement, so very vital to a successful parking system: increased police presence and the resulting look and feel of a safer, more walkable downtown.

  5. Last year I wrote a paper called, “Parking Strategies to Support Livable Communities” as a step-by-step guide for municipalities looking to improve parking management. I see so many suburban downtowns trying to compete with free parking at malls, at the expense of municipal taxpayers, I wanted to provide an alternative (and educational) perspective. Understanding the costs is huge!

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