What about Waco


What about Waco

I’m told that Waco, Texas, population 113,000 or so  doesn’t have pay parking downtown. Seems if you park in Waco, you park for free. The downtown is attempting a revitalization, but its slow. The parking manager for the city, Vince Tobola tells me that the concern is that if they start charging for parking, then the people will go elsewhere to shop and dine. The merchants are very leery of such a program.

Well, I will use the famous Santa Monica example. Its downtown area was dead — and had six parking structures holding what 600 cars each. And they were free. What the area did was turn it into a destination location — A great four block long mall of shops, restaurants, theaters and the like. The people watching is great — and now they are very successful. The charging or not charging for parking made no difference. If you build it they will come.

The City of Pasadena, about the size of Waco, set up an improvement district to be funded out of parking fees. They charged for on street and off street and paid off the bonds with the parking. They used the money to revitalize its broken down "old town"section. Now its a destination location with tony shops, restaurants and theaters. All paid by parking.

Seems like an idea that Waco may want to review….


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John Van Horn

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