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A Universal Parking Solution?

A Universal Parking Solution?

If you've ever done any traveling, you've probably noticed that there are nearly as many approaches to public parking as there are cities. In doing some research this morning I've started to wonder if there is a universal approach that would yield positive results for all cities, or even all cities of the same relative size?

For instance, in downtown Modesto, CA a new plan is about to launch at the end of November that will restructure parking fees in the evening. Under the old system, after 6 p.m. parking was a flat $5.00 fee for anywhere from an hour to overnight. The new system will operate at $1.00/Hour with a maximum of $5.00. The idea here being that people who otherwise would not park because they will only be there for a quick shopping trip or grabbing lunch, will instead park and pay a couple of dollars before carrying on. City officials are optimistic that these changes will improve area commerce without damaging parking revenue.

Meanwhile, in Santa Fe, NM many merchants are not happy with a system who's changes have gone the opposite direction of those in Modesto. Drivers are now going to be paying $2.00/Hour (up from $1) for the first two hours, the 3rd and any subsequent hours will see an increased rate of $3.00. In addition to the price increases, the fines for unpaid parking are also going to be rising. Local businesses are concerned that these changes will discourage people from parking, and thus reduce their foot-traffic.

These are just two examples of opposite systems which, city officials say, will benefit the economy in the area they serve. What are your thoughts? Do you think there is one method of handling garage and on-street parking that 'rules them all'?

 Sources:

Modesto

Santa Fe

photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo Historic Downtown via photopin (license)