I initiated my campaign based on the downtown parking meters and their extended hours. Paying an extra $2 to $4 in order to dine at my favorite restaurants really irritated me and apparently many others. My understanding from comments and emails that many small downtown businesses have suffered significantly since the meter hours increased.
So what are possible solutions? My first choice is to roll back the metered hours to 6 PM, as they were. Then we can all enjoy a movie, dinner, and maybe a club without worry about the meters.
But the new solar meters offer other opportunities as well. Remember the tokens? I've had one small business owner tell me the tokens were great for building customer loyalty. A token for one hour free parking was a great way to increase business. The new meters offer a high tech solution. Simply offer 1 hour free parking during the day, 2 hours in the evening. Or businesses could simply take the customer's parking slot number and enter it into a smart app on a phone or computer and register the customer for free parking.
I assume the technology with the new meters could offer other solutions as well. Instead of bagging the meters during the holiday season (and attracting all-day parkers), the new meters could be adjusted to offer extended free parking hours but limit all-day parking problems.
Of course I assume that the millions paid for the new meters included sophisticated software that could enable these free parking opportunities. Then again, was there much vision involved in the purchasing decision?
FREE THE METERS!