Today, the city is scheduled to consider a plan to raise downtown parking meter rates. The motive: to better manage parking resources.
Hear that knock at the door? It’s the government. And it’s here to help you.
An outrageous proposal before the city council recommends meters be enforced later than 6 p.m. and on Sundays—times and days when parking is currently, and traditionally, free. Another part of the plan calls for charging higher prices—up to $3 an hour—in busier parts of the city, such as the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and Hillcrest.
After 6 p.m.? Take a date to dinner and a movie and get ready put down your popcorn to run out and feed your meter. Sundays? That’s just totally un-American. The Church Lady would have an aneurysm. Three dollars an hour? Who wants to carry 24 quarters in their pocket for a two-hour business meeting?
The city has been experimenting with meter rates outside the $2.50-for-2-hour-limit standard. There are certain meters in low-usage areas—most marked by green tops—where you can park for four or even nine hours for a dollar an hour. Great idea! Usage went up, and so did revenue. Keep those in place.
But jacking up prices and extending hours is overtaxing. Yes, parking meter fees are a tax. A daily, inconvenient usage tax. Raising rates would be an unfair burden on hospitality and service industry workers, condo owners who utilize street parking and anybody else who visits downtown for work or play.
Put the brakes on this idea.