There’s plenty of parking…but

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There’s plenty of parking…but

The City of Davis, CA has a problem — there seems to be plenty of parking. Get this:

A person could drive around forever in downtown Davis trying to get
that choice parking spot in front of a certain restaurant or to make it
in time for the newest blockbuster.

But although parking in Davis has been demonized as difficult at best, most days there’s plenty.

Motorists
might find themselves walking a couple of blocks to their destination,
but with 3,200 spots in the core area — including two parking garages
and lots of private parking for businesses — there’s usually a spot
open within walking distance.

“Part of it is just retraining the
way people think,” said Ken Hiatt, the city of Davis’ economic
development manager. “They need to say ‘You know what, it’s easier for
me to park in the parking garage and walk.’ During regular business
hours, I’d estimate 40 to 50 percent of spaces (in the G Street garage)
are usually still available.”

Well, if you read the article  you will find that the issue isn’t enough parking, its convenient parking. See you can park free for a limited time down town so guess what, the employees of local stores simply move their cars around the corner every couple of hours and there you have it. The "parking ballet" performed like clockwork. And people who want to park in the area to spend money and visit shops are out of luck. They have to walk (shudder) up to two blocks.

Thus the people in the community complain about not enough parking (when they actually mean convenient parking) and the downtown employees continue their dance. How to stop it?

Welcome to JVH’s world. Charge for parking. Make on street parkers pay. Even just a bit. The employees will find that its really not so bad to walk that two blocks from the structure and the people who are willing to fork over a few quarters will get what they paid for — convenient parking.

All other alternatives are pipe dreams. Don’t believe me, how about listening to the department of transportation.  Read George Will’s column. If you change the word "traffic" to "parking" it would fit, just right.

The best way to change people’s habits, is to let the free market do it. Toll roads that change the amount charged are very successful in moving people from the stop and go of the freeway to with hyper speed toll lanes.  When the lanes are empty, drop the price, when they are full, hike it up. $.75 for the toll lanes at midnight, $4 at 7 AM. People then can decide whether they want to sit in traffic, or pay the $4 to save an on their commute.

Same stuff, different wrapper. If you charge for parking, and change the rates by time, based on demand, your customers can decide whether to pay or walk. Plus all that money generated can really help the neighborhoods….But then — that’s all heresy, right Chris?

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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