It's hard to know how useful this will be in our debate - but the State has just published a new pamphlet, Parking Made Easy: A Guide to Managing Parking in Your Community.
|Parking Made Easy|
Still, it's nice to see a short section on bike parking, treated not as a special-interest facility, but as an important piece of managing on-street parking - part of the total transportation package.
|Quality Bike Parking as part of the solution|
|Excerpt on Salem|
In 2006, Salem, Oregon had over 200 30-minute parking stalls within its 1,200 stall downtown onstreet parking inventory. The long-term parking quickly filled up each day, leaving only 30-minute stalls available. With few parking options in sight, customers used these spots and frequently returned to find parking tickets on their cars. People became frustrated with “heavy handed” enforcement and lack of options. Parking study surveys revealed that customer visits averaged 1.5 hours. Rather than continue to issue tickets, the city adjusted the time limits to two hours on the majority of 30-minute stalls to better correlate time stays to actual customer need. The number of 30-minute stalls was reduced from over 200 to 35, providing the right space and reducing ticketsOur current parking debate shows that the two-hour limit is not popular and that this change in 2006 was not as effective as the writers of the pamphlet might want us to believe.
It would be helpful to see data on actual business generated. With the Great Recession and all, it's hard to control the data, but it seems like you ought to be able to tie parking data to receipts somehow. If metered parking does in fact promote commercial activity, which is a significant part of the claim for doing it, we ought to be able to see evidence of that.
Something more like this, from New York City:
|Parklet for Parking: 172% increase in retail sales!|
Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets
New York City Department of Transportation
Over at LoveSalem in a comment Walker articulates a more nuanced approach:
It's quite possible that parking meters play a role in a thoughtful, holistic plan for revitalizing and improving downtown such that people want to be in and enjoy that place, and for accommodating them in all their variety. And when I see that plan, and where parking meters fit into it, it's possible that it will be worthy of support.Unfortunately, that's not where the petition drive and opposition to the current plan is headed. Instead, it's no more parking meters forever. And even if you think meters are inappropriate right now, making a ban permanent is not good policy.
This pamphlet may come too late for Salem, and it may not be written to the right audience. It seems more for policy-makers, but it seems that there's a need for a document written for business owners who think free parking is not only necessary but helpful.
If you check it out, what do you think of it?
(For all notes on downtown parking, including thoughts on why meters might be helpful, see here.)