Guest of the Stable: Sean Iaquinto
This is a letter I sent to Ian Sacs, the Director of Parking and Transportation, a few weeks ago. Actually I can’t remember if he replied, but I don’t remember him doing so. What are your thoughts on fixing parking along Washington Street?
I just wanted to know two things:
1. Are we looking to perhaps replace the meters on Washington Street with smart meters (meters that you can use credit cards, etc) with like they have in NYC?
2. I was writing about the double parking situation and did some research. New Haven had an issue like us with parking and I wrote this:
“One solution is we should have smart meters on Washington Street, which use “Dynamic parking” (refers to a system in which parking fees rise and fall according to demand. For instance, during the busiest part of the day downtown, it might cost $2 to park for an hour. When there are fewer cars around, it might be only $1.) Smart pricing also frees up curb space by incentivizing long-term parkers to use off-street lots and garages.
New Haven had similar issues with parking as we do, you can read more here.
Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking, says: “His proposed solution, implemented in a number of cities around the country: charge the “right price” for parking – not too little (or free) and not too much so as to discourage people from coming downtown.
That could be done either by varying the price according to time of day, or by charging for length of stay, Shoup said. He said optimally, most parking spots would be full but there’d be enough open spaces to make finding a spot relatively easy.
Second, he proposed returning parking meter revenue to the neighborhoods that generate it, to pay for improvements neighbors and merchants want to see.
Then cities should remove or reduce off-street parking requirements, shrinking the amount of pavement surrounding urban buildings and facilitating the creation of more human-scaled development, he recommended.”
The bottom line is that Washington Street is too easy for people to park there in the middle of the day, popping quarters into a meters all day and taking up space. Someone like me would gladly pay $1 to park for 15 minutes if I can get in & get out.
I know plenty of business owners who park on the street and keep feeding the meters all day long to park. They clog the streets from people like me or parents who just want to pick up their kids or someone who simply wants 15 minutes to do a quick pickup and get on their way.”
Wanted your thoughts on that if you had a second. I mean, don’t you think the issue on Washington Street is that we don’t have enough quick turnover & that it is too cheap to park? I think we should be looking to raise the price to park along Washington Street, for people like me who may be in their car and want to pop-in and out to buy something. Sure, there’s the argument for people who want to eat along Washington Street, but I think a) they can pay more to park there for an hour or b) They should look to use a public parking garage if that cost is too high (I mean $4 for 1 hour is still probably cheaper than a garage).
Even after writing this I think a key issue is having enough parking garages. A perfect location for a multi-story garage would be on Observer between Washington and Hudson. That’s a huge parking lot that if it was converted into a multi-story lot it could house a ton of people who drive into town looking for a quick place to park for downtown dining or shopping.