The Peter Paul and Mary song of the sixties was prophetic for Fresno this past week. Here’s the story.
The City had meters in the Chinatown area for years until 1999 when they were removed. They found that for some strange reason, employees and government workers were taking all the spots so they put the meters back in 2001. Now six years later, the merchants are crying and want the meters removed again. The city, as an experiment, is taking them out.
It would seem to me that they already did the experiment in 1999 and the result was so bad they had to replace the meters two years later. What has changed that makes anyone think that this time it will be different. Isn’t one definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting to get a different result?
It seems to me that the problem is that the city collects about a million dollars a year from parking but the local merchants see none of it. If the million was put back into the neighborhoods with new sidewalks, street lights, events, parks, and the like, I wonder if people would come down to the area in droves, whether or not they had to pay.
As for the concern that people have to "feed the meters." It seems to me that rates could be set so that feeding was unnecessary. Maybe sell parking in hour increments, so they can buy 3 or 4 hours after hours or around lunch.
Of course upgrading the meters to take credit cards and the like would help, too.
Lots of alternatives, rather than just doing the same thing that failed a six years ago.
Thanks to Mark Rimmer for pointing out this disaster in the making.