Let me see if I've got this right….the city just built another downtown garage at a cost of $11 million dollars while parking revenues have fallen 32% over the past few years. Although technically the city's parking garages don't lose money, this sure feels like good money following bad with several of our downtown garages currently operating at 90% vacancy. The city's director of public parking, John Slade, says it not about making money…it's about serving the public…but even our Mayor admits that folks don't use these garages like they should. He says, "As Southerners, we generally don't like parking garages."
So what it is about parking garages that we don't like? Is it safety concerns? Well, the city has spent quite a bit of money improving lighting and security to attract more garage parking. Or is it Convenience? We all know people who like to park right in front of their destination and will drive around in an open parking lot waiting for a closer spot to open up. Parking in a garage and walking a block to your destination just ain't gonna get it for these folks.
Whatever the problem, we've got enough downtown parking garages for now … the city just needs to convince more people to use them.
That's my perspective. What's yours?