This article jumped out at reader Mark and I read it, first to find out where the hell Sewickley is (in PA, near Pittsburgh, one thinks), but also to consider the puzzle of parking income in their downtown area.
Last year during June they collected $92,000 during a two month or so period in May/June. This year they stopped charging for Saturdays (at the behest of merchants who wanted to attracted more customers). This year during the same period they collected the same amount of money, even though they reduced their charging period by 20%. Hmmmmm
They were ecstatic and the city decided to continue as long as revenues didn’t decrease. But how could that happen? One would have thunk that Saturday would have been a big income day for parking but assuming it was the same as the other five days, then how could the income have been the same? No one seemed to be concerned about that question or more importantly, its answer.
Mark muses that, all things being equal, they must have experienced a 20% increase during the other five days of the week. Where did that come from? Maybe parking wasn’t the problem all along. I note that if business did increase on the weekends, could it possibly have been due to the increased promotion put on by the Chamber of Commerce (see article), and NOT the free parking.
Increases in customer numbers on Saturday may have nothing to do with free parking. If you build it, they will come.
As for the increase in parking revenue for the other five days, I have an idea. What if due to the free parking on Saturday, and resulting decrease in available parking, some people began to change their habits (the Costco effect, see below) and began parking on other days, when parking wasn’t free, but it was more available.