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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eugene gets it right

They're ripping out parking meters downtown.

Good thing they don't have wasteful streetcar lines to pay for, or they couldn't do that.

Comments (3)

The arguments for meters are to promote turnover of customers, revenue for other projects and to prevent employees from blocking customers.
Now with the current economy downtown associations might even want to pay for customers!
Doing some work in a down town I found that the biggest problem is actually workers parking on main street! And they want meter readers to police that. But the trade off is a hurried, hassled customer base that finds the ease and freedom of a strip mall more attractive.
We should only tax undesirable behavior.

I realize that this is heretical, but Fort Worth came up with a lively solution over a decade ago. While Dallas put parking meters everywhere, and made sure that the meters were valid until midnight, Fort Worth declared that parking was free all weekend. We're talking garages, standard parking spots, the whole lot. The end result is that you have people traveling from all over the Southwest to Fort Worth to visit restaurants, watch movies, and catch live shows, and the license revenues from having a lively and active downtown more than makes up for any lost meter revenue.

On the other hand, Dallas is much like Portland: meters everywhere, and absolutely insane parking lot prices. Combine that with precious little to do in downtown after 5:00, and it's no surprise that it's nearly dead on the weekend. I hear so many people complaining that they never want to see Portland become like Dallas: in this case, I agree with them.

Well given the fact that much of downtown Eugene is already easy to park at, this should not be a big issue. Seems like about 20-30% of storefronts are vacant at any given time. Years ago my wife and I used to go to the saturday market there, and never had a problem finding street parking within a block of the market.

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