I actually knew about the parking problems in Palm Springs. They were ‘splained to me by a developer a year or so ago. You can’t charge for parking. Well, seems that the bird has come home to roost.
My next nominee for the "City by the Bay" award for the most looney tooned approach to parking policy is that wonderful rich city in the low desert of Southern California, Palm Springs. Read about it here.
Most of my readers know what is coming. Palm Springs had two seasons, high season, roughly now ’til June, and "hottern blazes." It will average 105 degrees every day in the summer. So naturally visitors shy away during months with no "r" and return when the temperature peaks at about 85. Oh yes, parking.
Parking in Palm Springs is free for the first two hours, but you can only stay two hours. No way to pay for more, if you stay longer than two hours, you get a ticket. This is in the off street lots, too. Naturally, parking is chaos. So what to do.
Ah Ha, the solution — lift the two hour parking rule for the lots. Yep, that solves it. Well, not really. Now people who formerly car pooled, and work in the area, can simply park in the lots, fill them up and there you are. Oh, and you don’t think that the employees don’t go out every two hours and move their cars. My guess is that 25% of the traffic in Palm Springs is employees moving their cars to keep from getting a ticket. (only kidding a bit).
Not a problem, says the city, or merchants, or whoever — we’ll just build a parking garage or three and there will be plenty of parking.
Bring on the Advil.
People go to Palm Springs because its a destination location. They love it there. They don’t like the parking mess, but they go anyway. The place is sold out in the winter time. Why not solve the parking problem once and for all?
CHARGE FOR PARKING ON STREET AND CHARGE ENOUGH SO PEOPLE WILL PARK IN THE OFF STREET LOTS. CHARGE LESS IN THE OFF STREET LOTS BUT STILL ENOUGH SO THAT EMPLOYEES WILL BE MOTIVATED TO PARK IN THOSE LOTS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN AND TAKE THE TRAM IN. WHAT TRAM? THE ONE YOU ARE GOING TO PAY FOR WITH ALL THE MONEY YOU WILL MAKE FROM CHARGING FOR PARKING. (WHEW)
People who shop in Palm Springs focus on a major problem. Their cars are usually too big to fit in the parking spaces. This is a town full of rich people. OK, the folks that work there may not be rich, but their customers are, trust me.They aren’t going to break stride if you charge for parking, because they are used to paying for something they want, and frankly they want to park close to the store.
The rates should be set so that 15% of the space is always open. Thus giving shoppers a quick place to park. Lower rates in the long term lots for those who don’t mind walking a block.
Use the money to lower taxes, invest in the business community, put on winter events in the downtown core — whatever. The merchants will love it, the shoppers will love it, the employees will love it
Palm Springs solution? Make parking even MORE free, and build garages. Sure, that’ll do it.
Not one word in the article about possibility fixing the problem, forever. (You know that dirty phrase: "Charge for parking."