A Better Parking Plan

Wow – I’m impressed – the editorial writer for the Memphis Commercial Appeal actually nails it. Read the entire article here. The city wants to lease out the on street parking operation and get $20 million up front. This sage isn’t so sure:

A financial crisis can cause an individual to make an unwise decision to relieve the crisis. That’s one of the reasons payday loan companies are able to stay in business. A bill is due and the individual makes a loan that carries a high interest rate and fees. The crisis is relieved, but only temporarily. The loan and interest still have to be repaid, hopefully from the person’s next paycheck. Miss a payment and the fees rise.


Then the editor brings it home with this:


The city would be better off modernizing its on-street parking, taking advantage of Downtown’s robust nightlife to increase the hours for paid parking, adding more meters and hiring enough staff to really monitor the meters.


Yep, getting a quick fix doesn’t solve the long term problem. It simply puts off the paying of the piper, plus you pay a lot for it. Just like the person at the temporary loan store paying 2000% interest, the city pays considerable for that money. Chicago, for instance, left a ton on the table when it leased out its on street parking, LA abandoned the plan when it got greedy and received no bids, Pittsburgh blew away the idea and Indianapolis created a hybrid to ensure the city kept involved in the revenue process.


Its just logic. A private business is not going to lease the parking from a city unless it is going to make a LOT of money. I was told yesterday that a venture capitalist typicall wants 2 to 3 times return in less than five years. Shouldn’t that money go into the city’s coffers rather than the private sector?

Of course the editorial is correct; you need knowledgeable staff and a fresh approach to the parking rules and enforcement.


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