Portsmouth, NH has a problem. They have a lot of restaurants and not enough parking. The merchants say that people are cancelling reservations because they can’t find a parking space. Read about it here.
First of all, the picture with the article tells one tale. The lot isn’t full:
They close it when there are spaces available and reserve them for monthly parkers. I”m sure there’s a formula they use. So there are spaces, they just aren’t available. An idea: Why not sell parking in the garage for time periods when the garage isn’t under stress. Say sell parking that has to be out by 5:30 PM. If they aren’t they become daily parkers and have to pay the full daily rate. (There are PARCS systems out there that do that.) Many people would elect to not pay the additional cost to get 24 hour parking, and more space would be freed up for daily parkers in the evenings when much of the complaints take place.
What about on street valet? Set up a program of on street valet parking. Have the merchants subsidize it. Give some good service and people will flock to downtown. I’m sure there are operators all around New England that would love to bid on that deal.
How about moving employees who park out of the downtown area. Set up a lot nearby and shuttle them in. I”ll bet there are a lot of them who pay 50 cents an hour to park in that structure. This problem could be solved by adjusting the rates to something like 50 cents for the first two hours then a dollar for the next hour and 10 dollars for the fourth hour. (Validation would bring it back to 50cents an hour for the entire period.)
Aren’t there office buildings that close in the evenings. Surely some arrangement can be made so their garages are kept open (maybe for employees)
It just seems to me that there are a lot of things communities like Portsmouth can do to handle parking issues like this. This is what parking operators are all about. Solving parking problems with existing space (anyone every heard of Valet Assist?)