Saturday, July 10, 2010

City Council, July 12th

Council meets on Monday night. Safe Routes, the noise ordinance, and parking are some matters of small interest.

Councilors Clem and Dickey will ask Council for a letter in support of a Safe Routes to School grant application for Hallman Elementary School. The funds would support a SR2S coordinator for two years.

Councilor Tesler wants to ensure that a revised noise ordinance will contain provisions for "entertainment zones" that will, among other things, help to allow an actual night life. This is not merely important for young people and night owls. It benefits everyone.

As Jane Jacobs points out time and time again, a diversity of street uses that sends different waves and pulses of people at different times on the street is the crucial ingredient in urban vitality and urban safety. Downtown needs this!

One item on the agenda is a request $500K from Urban Renewal funds for downtown parking garage improvements. These funds are for capital expenses rather than an operating expenses, but we'll treat them as one-time operating expenses for the moment.

Last month we saw that the Downtown Parking District would cost $1,131.25 per spot this year. This $500K spread over 2314 spots (also a simplified assumption; the actual number would be smaller, and the per spot figure commensurately larger) adds $216.08 per spot to the annual cost, for a total cost of $1,347.33 per spot this year.

That's over $100 per month!

With more reasons to visit downtown, encouraged by things like a revised noise ordinance that permits a more regular night life, it will in time be easier to end the artificial subsidy of auto parking. Salem needs a thriving downtown, not a dull one propped up by "free" parking! (We'll have more to say on this in some new Jane Jacobs posts.)

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