The City of Riverside took the Shoupista approach to parking late last year and are getting some complaints. Some merchants are saying its driving business out, but the sales tax revenue doesn’t bear that out. Read all about it here.
It sounds like the city is doing the right thing. Raised on street prices, lower off street prices. They are fixing up the off street garages, and retraining their staff to be less punitive in their citation writing.
My guess is, however, that they aren’t really using the power of public relations to "sell" the program. It sounds in the article like they are reacting to problems rather than having a complete plan in place and showing the merchants and their patrons exactly what the money is doing for the downtown area. Paragraph 23 in an article about new elevators and lighting in the city garages isn’t really enough.
These programs need to be planned out from soup to nuts and then instituted with a bang. They must show progress and must show everyone exactly what is happening. The monies generated should go to more than just fixing parking problems. Downtown merchants associations with hard driving executive directors and the like are just as important, and they can be paid for with parking funds. New street lights, infrastructure, and on street events are critical.