The City of Fairbanks, AK, along with a lot of fanfare, built a parking garage to solve downtown parking issues nine years ago. Now, here is today’s headline:
Downtown parking garage underutilized where parking once was scarce
Read all about it here.
Mark calls this ‘fodder’ for the blog. I call it crazy. Don’t people think at all. They basically have free parking on the street (2 hours free and people move cars to cover). Why would anyone in their right mind park in the garage. Also there appears to be a signage issue — a lot of people don’t know its there.
The garage is paid off — well at least the city’s part is. The federal and state monies are probably just forgiven in that black hole known as the deficit. However it is barely generating enough to pay for the maintenance.
Back nine years ago the city was able to snag a six million dollar loan/grant from the state and the feds. That means they could build a parking garage on the cheap. I wonder if they had had to pay the entire cost of eight million themselves, they would have rethought the project and perhaps charged what was necessary to pay for it, and then remembered that if you give something away free on one side of the street its pretty hard to charge for it on the other.
There is no free lunch.