The Downtown Alliance recently published a survey that implied that a majority of respondents like the new, blue parking meters. Of course, the vast majority of the "like" was the ability to use credit cards, certainly an advantage considering the parking rates. The Alliance also noted on its web site that 75% of the respondents did not know that the meter hours had been extended. Huh! Who did this survey (at the taxpayer's expense)?
Anyway, that said, the Alliance claimed that downtown businesses want the extended hours because their employees were parking at the meters blocking customer use. Well, let's see... at night most people working downtown are service people, bartenders, cooks, wait staff, etc., the lowest paid workers (except for an occasional, exceptional, tip night. Considering that public transit is dubious at night, I can understand why evening workers need parking.
However, the lots downtown are usually quite empty at night. Why can't downtown businesses subsidize parking for their evening workers, making them happier, more productive, and allowing meter stalls for customers (reverting to free after 6:00pm) and therefore drawing more business downtown? The City could help...
The old Zephyr Club has been an downtown eyesore for a decade... I think it's about time for some City action to demolish the gutted building and use that space for evening employee parking. The eyesore is removed, the City pays the demolition costs for the property owner, and the parking problems are solved.
Too simplistic I guess, but you get the idea. There are better ways to solve our problems than discourage evening downtown visits.