“I just want my clients to have a place to park and not get reamed for it,” says salon owner Susan Olsen. She says parking is already a problem for her and her customers at “Bangs” downtown.
Now the city's talking about upping the price in the heart of downtown to 75 cents an hour, and, over the course of several years, making you pay to park until nine at night.
“Overall, it's just a nightmare,” Olsen says. That’s because she fears she'll be riding the bus to work and her customers will go in search of shops with free parking instead of paying more.
“Who’s going to run down to Cafe Kopi for a $4 cup of coffee and spend 75 cents?” Olsen asks.
But the city says raising prices is part of making sure there's enough parking. Administrators wouldn't increase the price per hour at meters a few blocks away so shoppers and employees will walk a little farther and open up spots downtown. Some say that's simply a sign of growth.
“You know it's a good problem to have, people want to be downtown,” says city parking administrator Elizabeth Hannan.
Hannan says a few extra quarters won't hurt the area; in fact, it should help because it means more money for future expansion. She says that means more to customers than cheap parking.
“I think it's a necessity,” Hannan says. “I think [more expensive parking] is something that people expect in a more urban area.”
The city says at some point it could consider upping fines for parking tickets for more revenue, but right now that's not in the works. If you're wondering… all of that money you feed the meter pays for projects like repaving parking lots and paying for the parking deck going up on Hill Street near Church and Neil.