My blog this week is simply a direct re-publication of a letter from a Mr. James Reese about his experience with parking in our core. It speaks volumes about our current situation and I suspect his views are shared by many even if they didn’t take the time as Mr. Reese has done to share his ominous view of what our downtown will look like if we don’t address this problem and soon.
I went to London last Saturday to see the play, “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.” The play was well done, and the Grand Theater quite accommodating.
Earlier, I went with some friends to the Gigs Grillhouse. I parked in a parking lot just around the corner. I put $5 into the meter, thinking that should take care of at least three hours. I was astounded when $5 only bought me an hour’s worth of parking.
I went back to the parking lot to get another parking slip, but an attendant was on duty at the time. I said I needed to stay an extra hour, and how much would it be? He said, “We have a flat rate of $20!” I looked at him and said, “No thanks. I’m not paying $25 for two hours of parking!”
I found a place on the street with no parking meters, and by that time, I didn’t care if I got a ticket or not. I was fed up.
I writing this email to you because whether you know it or not, excessive parking fees and parking tickets will kill your downtown economy, and it looks like the “killing process” is well underway.
Parking meters killed the town where I grew up. The city’s leaders wouldn’t face the truth until it was too late. Who was going to put up with high fees and having to outrun the parking cop when you could go to a mall or shopping center and skip all of that aggravation?
So, I’m telling you–I won’t be back to London until the city government does something about parking. People know when they are being gouged, and they resent it. They will vote with their pocketbooks and will take their business elsewhere. I repeat: nothing kills a downtown quicker than excessive parking fees.
London and other cities could get away with it in the 50s and 60s, but not any more. There are too many alternatives today.
The parking lot operators are making money at the expense of your restaurants and other businesses. You can either fix the problem, or continue to watch your city’s economy dry up.