DEBATE: Should we have downtown parking meters? Con
Downtown employees who do the "two-hour shuffle" to move their cars and avoid a parking ticket now have a more expensive dance card.
Prescott Magistrate Judge Arthur Markham recently doubled the downtown parking fine from $10 to $20.
That probably will not dissuade downtown employees from running out every two hours to move their cars.
Some want to put parking meters downtown to force downtown employees to use the city parking garage and leave downtown parking spaces to shoppers and tourists.
City Manager Steve Norwood says that experience in other cities has shown that charging for all other parking is the only way to get people to use a parking garage.
He says new technologies resolve the hassle of finding change to feed a meter. They now have high-tech kiosks or pods to punch in payments, or people can do it via cell phone.
He adds further that people who visit from Phoenix are less likely to gripe about parking tickets than locals. Valley residents, he says, are used to high-ticket parking costs.
Nonetheless, we get our share of online comments and letters from out-of-towners who vow never again to visit our city because they got a parking ticket.
But the many locals who gripe about parking tickets may prove a stronger force in keeping parking meters off downtown streets Meters or their high-tech successors may be in our future, but in these days of angry voters and anti-incumbent angst, Mr. Norwood is unlikely to get the city council's blessing for anything else that might enrage the restless natives further.
For the near term, folks who work in downtown businesses probably will keep dancing the "two-hour shuffle" rather than take the time on a busy morning to walk the two or three blocks from the garage and drag themselves back at the end of a long day.
Someday paid downtown parking may fill our parking garage, but it will have to await better economic times and a friendlier electorate.
In the meantime domestic and foreign shoppers will have to vie for space with the two-hour shufflers.