Easton, NJ is my next City by the Bay Nominee for dumb parking decisions. And everyone is making them, businesses and government.
What caught my eye was the headline "Easton offering Free Parking on Saturdays". It just went down hill from there. Read about it here.
First the local merchants asked the city to make parking "free" on weekends through the Christmas Holidays. That would attract folks downtown to shop.
You can’t convince me that people come downtown to shop simply because the parking is free. They will come because its a good place to shop. Making parking free will make parking more difficult. Employees will take all the spaces. Folks will drive downtown to shop, not be able to find a space, and head straight to the mall.
Second — The mayor wants to double parking fees (I assume during the times when its not free) to "raise more money" for the city. Ah, the famous "general fund". Is the money earmarked for streets, or infrastructure, or whatever. NO. Its for revenue generation.
Third — some of the merchants are "feeding meters." That is, they are telling people if they shop in their stores, they will pay their parking. Hey, good idea. The problem is, if its free, how does that work.
One thing on the "free" parking program is that the city will still get its lucre. The merchants have to "sponsor" a parking meter and pay $15 bucks to the city and the meters will be covered on Saturday. Gee, what happens if some of the meters are covered and some are not. Who gets those covered meters, the folks that paid? Not really — The rules appear to be that you can’t sponsor just the meters in front of your store.
Oh well — this is going to be something. At the end of the holidays, the person who though it up will declare it a resounding success and recommend doing it for every holiday, the merchants will be grumbling about the inherent unfairness, the parkers will find there is no place to park downtown on Saturday…
And a good time will be had by all.