Free Parking For Christmas

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Free Parking For Christmas

It has begun – It’s not even Thanksgiving yet but businesses world wide are pleading with local city councils to offer “free parking” to entice shoppers downtown to do their Christmas Shopping. Will these people ever learn?

What will happen is that the “free” spaces will be taken by the merchants or their employees and potential shoppers will have no place to park. In addition, merchants who should have been using creative marketing, pricing, and excellent inventory to attract shoppers will be blaming the lack of free parking as to why folks go to the big mall outside of town.

It will never occur to them that folks go there because it’s convenient, there is a lot of entertainment, there is that 10 screen theater and video arcades where the kids can hang while the folks shop. They won’t consider that people like the decorations and amusements that come with the mall.

All the above could be available downtown, if the merchants were to band together and build it. A fellow I shared a drink with here in London last night noted that he was from Londonderry in Northern Ireland and the central business district always has like complaints. Its cold and wet and for some reason, people go to the mall rather than shop downtown.

He works for a large firm that builds large buildings. He mused as to why the locals don’t cover a group of down town blocks and add heaters. People would flock to the area. Money, he said?

I noted that if they charged for parking and took the resulting money and put it into the project, who knows what they could accomplish. You need to be creative, think outside the box. Money from the parking would pour out onto the sidewalks and the result could be the savior of downtown. It has happened in many cities across the US.

Think about it. Many malls are now being designed to look like downtowns. People like the broad sidewalks, shops, parks, and places to stroll, sit and watch the passing scene. It can work.

But giving out free parking won’t. It will just add to the problems.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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