(KCPW News) Salt Lake City’s push to charge more for metered parking and extend hours of enforcement is sure to face opposition, but the city and at least one local restaurateur says logically, it’s a good call. Mayor Ralph Becker’s 2013 budget proposal extends the hours of parking enforcement from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and includes a 50-cent hourly hike on metered parking. David Everitt, the mayor’s Chief of Staff, says there is an increasing lack of short-term parking downtown because it’s been free after six.
“You find people who are parking at four or five in the evenings, paying for an hour or two of parking and then they’re parking there for the rest of the night,” Everitt says. “And whether they’re going to a Jazz game or maybe going to something at the ballet, they’re occupying that stall in front of a restaurant or in front of a business for the rest of the evening, when in fact, the whole point of having those stalls there is for there to be turnover and people to have availability for that short-term experience downtown.”
Everitt says there are nearly 25,000 stalls in parking garages downtown that aren’t being utilized.
Shaun Jacobsen manages Martine Cafe just off Main Street on 100 South in downtown Salt Lake City.
“My initial reaction was that would make it harder for people to visit downtown,” Jacobsen says. “And then as I thought about it more, I’ve come to the realization that it may in fact make it more convenient because those spots will be available for business patrons rather than business employees.”
The city says the increased revenue from the change will more than offset the cost of extending parking enforcement into the evening. The council will be discussing the proposal over the next six weeks.
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As a patron of downtown, to see the ballet and sing in the opera among other things, when I go downtown, I am there for the evening. I go to dinner and then to a show. I need a parking solution that allows me to be downtown all evening. Even if I am just stopping for dinner after work, I often stay for longer than two hours. I understand the city’s need to make more money, but I am very disturbed by the idea that I would be forced to park in a parking garage where I have to deal with long lines and gas fumes as well as high costs. If the city wants to charge to park at meters in the evening, they need to have no time limit and reduce the hourly charge for those who choose to park for several hours. If they want to be competitive with the private garages, the cost has to be less.
I don’t know anyone who goes into downtown for just an hour at a time in the evening, so the argument about turnover/short term parking makes absolutely no sense to me. How can we register our feedback to the city?