Budget crunches sure can lead to some unorthodox solutions. How about more parking meters downtown?
Downtown would have twice as many metered parking spaces and visitors would have to feed the meters until 2 a.m. under a plan presented to a City Council committee Thursday.
The proposal by Mayor Bill White, who is seeking ways to raise city revenue in the face of a budget crunch, drew criticism from some City Council members and from downtown bar and restaurant operators who said the change would be bad for business.
Street parking is now free after 6 p.m. and the business owners said charging for it later would discourage nighttime visitors.
"You need to nuture downtown. We are not there yet," said Peter Garcia, who owns the Twelve Spot bar. "This could be catastrophic to our industry."
Many downtown businesses are just beginning to rebound from years of street construction and the building of the Main Street light rail.
As a concession, the administration has offered to exclude from the plan a 15-block area on the north end of downtown that was hit especially hard by the construction.
The plan also would retain free parking during the day on Sunday, and downtown residents would be able to purchase a decal allowing them to park in metered spaces without additional charge.
Downtown now has 4,200 metered parking spaces. David Saperstein, who heads the Mayor's Office of Mobility, said Thursday the city can double that number, still allowing for limits on curb parking because of fire hydrants, driveways and other restrictions.
Planners still haven't worked out some of the details, including locations of new meters and parking fees.
I will say this: I don't mind more meters, and I don't mind a hike in meter rates. But I'd really prefer not to see meter times extended to 2 AM. I like parking for free when I go to Comets and Astros games. Alas.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 11, 2004 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack