Losing Business Because of Pay Parking? Charge More!

Parking guru Don Shoup was invited to speak in Santa Rosa as an expert on parking policies. Though the city is the only one in Sonoma County to charge for parking (to the chagrin of downtown merchants), it is considering building a 545-space garage.

2 minute read

August 14, 2009, 12:00 PM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Santa Rosa, city of 160,000 and county seat of Sonoma County in the wine country of the Bay Area, and area non-profits including the Climate Protection Campaign,invited UCLA Professor Don Shoup to speak to the city council and community on August 11 about downtown parking policies as they relate to economic development, climate change, and traffic circulaton. (See press release)

Shoup answered skeptics of 'pay parking' with 'charge more!', showing how pay parking adds to the ambience of downtown by providing revenue to clean and enhance it.

"Santa Rosa currently charges a flat $1 per hour for curbside parking downtown no matter the location, and 75-cents an hour in its garages and surface lots.

Shoup, who earlier toured downtown Santa Rosa, said he's aware of criticism of Santa Rosa's parking policies, including those who say in letters to the editor that they shop at Coddingtown or in other cities rather than in downtown Santa Rosa because the others offer free parking."

The issue is particularly relevant to Santa Rosa, currently engaged "on a joint proposal by the council and a private developer to build a 545-space, city-owned parking garage and 151-room, privately-owned boutique hotel on a 1.3-acre E Street site that now houses a 116-space city surface parking lot."

"How Shoup's views will play in Santa Rosa remain to be seen. His appearance was triggered by a growing council debate over whether the city has enough parking. The audience of 120 people included the city council and members of city boards and commissions, local business and environmental groups and biking organizations."

Thanks to Allen Tacy

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 in The Press Democrat

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