A) A regulatory scheme with large subsidies combined with cumbersome reporting requirements and significant fines for non-compliance?
- or -
B) Market-pricing applied across the board with little or no reporting requirements and simple enforcement?
Perhaps the same basic schema applies to downtown parking?
Unfortunately, rather than using the increasing body of evidence that free parking is a flawed policy, some folks seem to want the City to add epicycles of enforcement and layers of bureaucracy to a flawed paradigm of free parking.
The simplest explanation is that free parking is a bad idea.
Maybe it's time to shift the paradigm to paid parking?
The report is here. It's scanned in black-and-white and some of the maps that use color don't show up very well. But one thing it might do is give more visibility to the core area downtown where parking does exceed the 85% occupancy rate at peak hours. Unsurprisingly, the parking garages all are being used less.
One of the ideas that has been floated is to charge for the garages but keep the on-street stalls free.
So here's another question: In what economic model of effective markets does it make sense to charge for a low-demand, plentiful resource, but give away for free the higher-demand, scarcer resource? On the surface this approach doesn't make much sense.
In any case, focusing on the delivery of people by car to downtown caters not to people and merchants, but to the demands of the car itself. It's a red herring. From here it looks like the single most important factor in downtown health is increasing the supply of housing downtown. We need people living downtown, walking downtown, shopping downtown. They will provide the critical mass to attract other things, and then downtown services, goods, and activities will be more in demand and variety and and it will seem more worthwhile to pay for parking.
(All notes on downtown parking here.)
Update Tuesday: Council is ending unlimited, free parking.
|32 businesses asked for three-hour limits|
A Few History Notes
|Chamberlain Hall is likely to be demolished|
Remember the pump house on Market Street at about 21st?
|Oregon-Washington Water Service Company|
Pump Station at 21st and Market
There's an agreement with ODOT for "mitigation" on a new Winter Street bridge across Shelton Ditch at the Hospital. Because it was an historic bridge designed by R.A. Furrow, and in the "school of Conde McCullough," its demolition called for mitigation. The activities include
- Research and write a chapter on Salem's historic bridges to be utilized in the Oregon Department of Transportation-produced "Oregon's Historic Bridges Field Guide."
- Install an interpretive sign in an area adjacent to the new Winter Street Bridge.
- Restore the historic northwest overlook at the new Winter Street Bridge.
- Install bridge rail on the new bridge that resembles the rail in place on the existing bridge.
|The grander stairs on the Church St Bridge|
There's an interesting report on the City's engagement with social media. In one crucial way, however, it misses badly the "social" aspect of social media. This is a non-trivial legal question of process, so I'm not sure there's an immediately obvious solution, but if social media is a way to organize, to discuss and analyze, and a way for citizens to try to work around the absurdies of "Public Participation Theatre," then this is an opportunity denied.
Members of quasi-judicial land use decision making bodies, which include the City Council, Planning Commission, and the Historic Landmarks Commission, should not comment on the City's social media platforms regarding pending quasi-judicial land use applications. Such comments may be evidence of bias or prejudgment, or constitute ex parte contacts. Expectations concerning social media use may be incorporated into Council Rules at a future date.I think that we should be moving in the other direction, with Councilors and Commissioners encouraged to seek out information and engage debate on the kinds of contested matters that are likely to end in quasi-judicial hearings. Maybe readers with legal backgrounds will have more sophisticated thoughts.
Savings! I don't really know what this means, but in the required report on the Railroad Quiet Zone projects, which was a "public improvement contract exempted from competitive bid," the City finds that "the original cost estimate for UPRR work was $799,705. The final actual cost was $539,897.32, which is 32 percent below the original estimate." The Urban Renewal Agency also has one for a project with PGE. It finished 18% below estimate. Looks good, right? Since all or nearly all of the "Keep Salem Moving" road bond projects have come in under budget, this is not a surprising outcome, and maybe just still says more about the crappy economy than shrewd project management.
The City and Mountain West are finding the environmental assessment of the park parcel at Boise is taking longer, and so the purchase agreement is being amended again, pushing the end date out to the end of this year. This isn't surprising really, so I don't know if there is reason to ascribe too much importance to it. (If you know otherwise, that would be interesting!)
Finally, coming up next month will be a Public Hearing on the proposed "Vacation of Public Rights-of-Way Encompassed by Mission Street SE, Church Street SE, Winter Street SE, and Pringle Parkway SE ~ Monday, September 22." That's at the Blind School.