Parking, like taxes and Congress, is one of those perennial complaints. It seems like no matter how much parking you have, it’s never enough. Consider the graphic on the left. A 2007 study found 2,162 spots within the dotted area. This translates to over 8 acres of parking in that area alone!
Yet another downtown parking workshop is scheduled for tonight, and a cynic can’t help but wonder if this is another case of paying for studies until you find the one that tells you want to hear.
Here are some questions I think should be answered at some point during our discussion on downtown parking:
- The county currently occupies office space in at least four different buildings downtown. How much parking is currently used by public employees downtown?
- Is the county paying the city at all for use of these spaces eight hours a day?
- Presumably the overwhelming majority of county workers commute by single-occupant motor vehicles. Is there any plan to introduce incentives to ride-share or use alternate transportation?
- There is a considerable number of under-utilized parking lots downtown. What sort of thought has been given to addressing this issue?
- Right now, it is free to park downtown. However, parking is not free to provide. It costs on average $4,000 per spot for surface parking, $24,000 per stall for an above-ground structure, and $34,000 per stall in an underground structure. This means we are all paying for parking, whether or not we use it. Why should non-drivers subsidize drivers, and why should parking be exempt from free market efficiencies?