The City of Edinburgh, Scotland has installed P and D machines in one of its neighborhoods and the merchants are screaming that the $1.50 and hour fees are closing them down. The city is scrambling to figure out what is happening. — The prices, they say, are cheap. But no one is paying them. Read about it here.
I predict that the imposition of these fees were done without taking two issues into consideration.
1. Put the money back in to the neighborhoods.
2. A PR program to show that the neighborhoods were benefiting from the parking revenues.
3. Setting the initial rates too high (Goldilocks rates — not to high, not too low, but just right). If the streets were jammed with cars before the rates went into effect and are now empty, the rates are too high.
The solution —
1. Begin a program to return the money to the neighborhoods — start a public works project to clean up and promote the area, and use the money collected both in fines and fees, to pay for it.
2. Promote that project to the merchants and shoppers
3. Lower the rates, get people used to using the meters and paying, then raise them as needed to maintain the proper on street parking ratios.
Cities can be heavy handed when starting these programs. They have to be "handled." Merchants and drivers need to see that the program is to their advantage.