Ocryx and Joe


Downtown Parking- Before and After the Pay Stations

Because all we really want to do is drive business OUT of the downtown core...
posted May 3, 2010
Ocryx and Joe - Downtown Parking- Before and After the Pay Stations (tacoma, ocryx and joe, CLAW, parking)
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Our Corvid pals take a moment to speculate upon the wisdom of introducing paid on-street parking in the downtown business core, just at the time that the small businesses located there need as much ease of access as possible. Oh well, when they shut down, you can always go to the Big Box Stores down by the mall. Lots of free parking there!

by Mofo from the Hood on 5/3/2010 @ 7:36am
Isn't downtown the place where you park your car and then catch the #1 Bus to Spanaway Walmart?

by tacoma1 on 5/3/2010 @ 8:03am
Sorry, but if 75 cents an hour will stop someone from going to a restaurant or shop in downtown, then that store or restaurant was doomed anyways. A person would spend more than 75 cents on gas just to drive out to the mall for a free parking spot. And then, your at a soulless shopping mall.

by fredo on 5/3/2010 @ 8:40am
if 75 cents an hour will stop someone from going to a restaurant or shop in downtown, then that store or restaurant was doomed anyways. tacoma1

shoppers are not rational people. they are decidedly irrational and constantly make buying decisions based on incomplete of information and gut instinct. Quite frankly if I have a choice of patronizing a soulless shopping mall and parking for free or visiting a soulless downtown and paying 75 cents, I might go with the mall.

by TacomanTime on 5/3/2010 @ 8:56am
Really? If you're going downtown to do business now it's not because of free parking. You can have unlimited all day free parking at the Mall already. I avoid parts of downtown because I either can't find parking or the parking I can find is something absurdly short like 15 minutes.

Downtown must not try to be a mall - strip or otherwise.

(Aren't you a little late to this anyway? I'm pretty sure this was passed by the City Council last year.)

by fredo on 5/3/2010 @ 10:36am
A person would spend more than 75 cents on gas just to drive out to the mall for a free parking spot. tacoma1

Why does it take more gas to drive to the mall than to drive downtown? I don't get it.

by fredo on 5/3/2010 @ 10:43am
What the parking meter initiative really provides is a test of the following assumption:

More people will be attracted by the availability of parking spaces than will be repelled by the requirement of paid parking. If lots of downtown merchants begin complaining, we'll know the assumption was disproven.

And a final thought: It's a pretty big stretch to compare downtown Tacoma to downtown Portland and Seattle. The two bigger cities have lots of interesting shops, restaurants, and attractions. Downtown Tacoma...not so much.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/3/2010 @ 10:52am
Why does Tacoma government hate downtown business?

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 10:53am
I am excited to see parking meters. It is my understanding that they will first come to our more busy streets... round UW

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 10:55am
I can tell you first hand of employees just circling round their car every 1 - 2 hrs to another free parking spot to avoid tickets. we as a people are paying for that. stop parking socializim! make them pay!

by Mofo from the Hood on 5/3/2010 @ 10:57am
It makes sense to place parking meters in front of the buildings where many people must go: Hospitals, County-City government offices, Department of Corrections, Employment Security Offices, Department of Social and Health Services, McDonald's.

by fredo on 5/3/2010 @ 11:00am
Please permit me to engage in some thread drift here.

I'm not so concerned with the parking meters downtown. What I hate is the zoned parking around Tacoma General Hospital. If you're looking for a spot so you can visit your doctor you have to circle plenty of blocks to find a place where the city hasn't sold the exclusive right to park to the tenant in a proximately located residential unit. Excuse me, I paid for the curbing and concrete on that street just as much as the person with the permit. I doubt if the permits are being sold at an amount which even approximates the value of a parking spot. Why do people who own cars rent apartments where there is no off-street parking?

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 11:01am
all those locations mofo, are hit by buses every 15 minutes

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 11:03am
hospitals downtown all have well lit clean parking garages with convenient elevator service. why should we have to pay for fredo freeloader's free parking?

by Nick on 5/3/2010 @ 11:08am
I actually agree with Fredo's points, but I also think we aren't looking at the whole equation. A good chunk of on-street parking is currently used for downtown workers, effectively taking away available spots that could otherwise be used for storefront patrons.

Fredo's conclusion is right - it's going to create more vacant spaces by discouraging downtown workers from using them, and likely a few downtown shoppers. The question is if the trade-off will be worth it.

by Nick on 5/3/2010 @ 11:09am
... and while we're on the subject, who else thinks 6th Ave might have been a more appropriate place to start this paid parking thing?

by The Jinxmedic on 5/3/2010 @ 11:12am
In the long run, none of this really matters.

by fredo on 5/3/2010 @ 11:14am
hospitals downtown all have well lit clean parking garages with convenient elevator service. why should we have to pay for fredo freeloader's free parking? NIN

it's my generous nature to leave those spots for people who are less ambulatory.

by fredo on 5/3/2010 @ 11:19am
... and while we're on the subject, who else thinks 6th Ave might have been a more appropriate place to start this paid parking thing? Nick

Probably a good idea Nick, but the pay station parking was an initiative of the Downtown BID (I believe). If the 6th ave merchants association wants pay stations I'm pretty sure it could happen.

We have parking enforcement which is charged with making people using free parking in the business districts (like 6th ave.) honor the 2 hour, 1 hour zones, etc. But the workers in the offices can spot the meter maids in their flourescent vests and move their cars accordingly. Pay stations would solve this problem. Just a thought.

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 11:19am
@The Jinxmedic couldn't you say that about anything?

by The Jinxmedic on 5/3/2010 @ 11:34am
@RR : Yup. That's the inherent beauty of the statement.

You don't actually have to follow the comments, just interject that statement from time to time and it will look like you're paying attention.

by Marty on 5/3/2010 @ 11:45am
@ Fredo:
" We have parking enforcement which is charged with making people using free parking in the business districts (like 6th ave.) honor the 2 hour, 1 hour zones, etc. But the workers in the offices can spot the meter maids in their flourescent vests and move their cars accordingly. Pay stations would solve this problem. Just a thought "

Good point. I wonder if it would work in the Downtown area?

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 11:52am
I'm excited to see what happens Marty.

by TacomanTime on 5/3/2010 @ 12:37pm
"What the parking meter initiative really provides is a test of the following assumption: More people will be attracted by the availability of parking spaces than will be repelled by the requirement of paid parking."

Yup. The key is finding that balance between convenience and cost. I can't see paying $10 even if it directly in front of my destination. (However, as the valets show, some people are.) At the same time, I'm not going to spend 15 minutes walking each way to spend 1 hour at a destination.

"If lots of downtown merchants begin complaining, we'll know the assumption was disproven."

I don't agree that this should be either a measure of the assumption or the failure of the system. Invariably, 75 cents added to the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee might make a difference if I can get the same cup with the same (canned) atmosphere with the same convenience elsewhere. However, I doubt the people buying that coffee are suddenly going to start going through the 6th & Sprague drive-through instead due to factors other than price.

I expect the retailers most impacted will be those that sell something that 1) fail to capitalize on downtown workers, 2) can be easily purchased elsewhere in the same atmosphere, and 3) are inexpensive goods where price is the primary driver. These are also likely to be the retailers that complain the loudest.

by TacomanTime on 5/3/2010 @ 12:44pm
"What I hate is the zoned parking around Tacoma General Hospital. If you're looking for a spot so you can visit your doctor you have to circle plenty of blocks to find a place where the city hasn't sold the exclusive right to park to the tenant in a proximately located residential unit. Excuse me, I paid for the curbing and concrete on that street just as much as the person with the permit. I doubt if the permits are being sold at an amount which even approximates the value of a parking spot. Why do people who own cars rent apartments where there is no off-street parking?"

Amen. Add in areas around Stadium District, 6th Avenue... This system is absurd. During the daytime, there are blocks of empty spaces that have those crazy yellow signs kicking any visitors out. If they want to reserve those stalls, make them pay whatever the metered rate is all day. Nobody - owners, renters, or businesses - should exclusively own public parking.

by Coffee Dude on 5/3/2010 @ 4:50pm
Hello folks,
While owning a car, I have lived next to Tacoma General and now I live one block up from the Convention Center, lately I have not had too much trouble finding a place to park because I use a Yellow sign parking permit, that I pay for. Yes I pay to park between those nasty Yellow signs. Its about $100 a month I've been told for an individual space but discounted by more permits sold.. But none the less people still park in those spaces to go to work and the YMCA. Parking meters I suspect will force more parkers into my paid for space, because ultimately people will get away with what ever they can.
While living next to Tacoma General (Ist and S.4th), I discovered that the reason most of the street parking is always filled is due to the layout of the hospital, hopefully this will change with the new emergency room location, but it is the hospital staff, nurses and doctors and consultants who park mostly on the streets. I lived there for 10 years and watched and observed the comings and goings of people parking there, the paid parking is for patients (mostly) and requires that people who park there have auto insurance.

You may have also noticed that some of the downtown indoor parking is now an office building.

Metered parking will suck. It will force people to park higher up the hill into Hill Top neighborhoods, which they already do to some extent. My paid for Yellow permit spaces will be filled everyday.

This will generate massive parking violation revenue for the city, which I'll bet is the point of this anyways.

The people most effected will be the poor auto owners, not the expected to arrive soon "Young Highly Educated Professionals" that the city (is hoping) has planned to have move into downtown. This is a fact. Go to the city planning pages at the city website.

www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?cid=7906

"For more information, be sure to view Angelou's presentation for an overview, or the full report, "

read the full report you might be surprised by what plans tacoma has for us


by Jesse on 5/3/2010 @ 7:12pm
TacomanTime: If you park in the Tacoma General Hospital garage you don't have to pay. There's a *free* garage and a pay one. Even if you park in the pay one you can tell the guy you don't have cash and he'll let you by... but you didn't hear this from me.

by KevinFreitas on 5/3/2010 @ 10:13pm
Overall parking meters are a bummer but I'm OK with them because a) the new ones take debit cards which is good 'cause I never carry cash or coin and b) the city should be entitled to earn money off parking so they can help pay for upgrades to roads, business districts, etc or where ever those funds will go.

I'm not a fan of still having time limits or at least the same ones. Raise the max time limit to at least 4 hours or something to make it worth while if you're doing more than a few things in and around a place.

Sometimes Tacoma needs to grow up and paying for parking is just one of those steps.

by NineInchNachos on 5/3/2010 @ 10:47pm
the parking meters have time limits? Lame!

by morgan on 5/4/2010 @ 12:20am
While I'm against the suggested two hour time limit - I could go for the 4 hour limit. I wonder if anyone at the Chamber reads FeedTacoma.

by Erik on 5/4/2010 @ 2:45am
the parking meters have time limits? Lame!

Yes. It is really short sighted and proposed by well meaning folks who could not either comprehend or understand that by setting parking rates at market to create a 15 percent vacancy, one does not need time limits:

From an article by parking guru Professor Shoup:

The advantage of using prices to manage parking is that you don't need to have these arbitrary time limits.

www.worldchanging.com/archives/010631.ht...

The problem with time limits is that once one parks in an area, they are forced to leave after the time limit is up even if there are huge numbers of spaces available around and they are willing to to pay.

Visitors to downtown are essentially electronically marked with a "scarlet letter" that they can't pay to remove no matter how motivated and are forced to abandon downtown or risk a ticket even if the area is vacant of cars. A bizzarre and negative result for downtown and any merchants trying to run a business.

Shoup came to Tacoma to speak, but apparently his advice is being ignored on this issue and the city is going to try to improvise something which is harmful and misguided IMO.

shoup.bol.ucla.edu/

Become a Shoupista:

www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=700159403...

by fredo on 5/4/2010 @ 6:39am
....let's listen in on the dinner conversation taking place at a swanky downtown restaurant....

Diner #1: "so the financing is in place to put an enormous grocery store right in the middle of downtown, is that what you're saying?"

Diner #2: " yes that's true. In fact I've brought a copy of the plans I'd like to go over with you right now. Where the Luzon used to stand that's where the whole foods...(interrupted)

Diner #3 " Mr. Trump, I'm sorry to interrupt but our parking meter is about to expire"

Diner #2 "Sorry we have to run Ms. Strickland, it's been nice chatting with you."

by The Jinxmedic on 5/4/2010 @ 7:23am
Down with time limits! Two hours is not sufficient time for most business requirements, without having to worry about making it back in time. Feed the meter, get four hours, and relax. Power to the parkers!

by Mofo from the Hood on 5/4/2010 @ 8:49am
Do these new parking meters operate with coins? Because then the real time waster is running all over to get proper coinage.

Anyway, why is there a need to regulate the time people stay downtown? Isn't the real Tacoma problem about attracting people to downtown?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/4/2010 @ 9:02am
I understand these parking meters will also accept credit cards and most likely currency.

by tacoma1 on 5/4/2010 @ 9:08am
I do agree that the 2 hour time limit is insufficient for the daytime. For the evening, the time limit does go away. Diners eating at 6 PM or later need not worry as after 8, parking would be free under the current proposal.

by L.S.Erhardt on 5/4/2010 @ 9:12am
Where does the $$$ collected go?

The general fund? Eric Anderson's wallet? Pothole repair? Advertising? Street maintenance? Streetcar?

Where does this buck stop?

by tacoma1 on 5/4/2010 @ 11:43am
General fund, imo, it should go to the neighborhoods where funds are collected.

by TacomanTime on 5/4/2010 @ 11:49am
Google sez: www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?nid=939

Most of my visits to downtown are ~1-2 hours per item during the day. Dinner and entertainment trips are often longer, so I'm glad they are stopping at 6 p.m. Longer than 2 hours would suit me fine, but I'm good as long as 1) at least 2 hours is available, 2) I can buy more time between stops, 3) the price stays reasonable. Down with 15 minute signs!

If the City gets rid of time limits I'm sure it will mean more money for them - wherever it goes. I'm not sure if this is good/bad or irrelevant. Why more? 1) More people will overbuy time that they won't use, 2) Employees/students can pay for a full/half day of parking rather than using a garage, 3) More competition for stalls = higher per hour rate to get the vacant stalls the City wants.

On a side note, does anyone park in the City's garages? I don't, but will probably start to consider it if I can't find paid on-street parking any closer.

by tacoma1 on 5/4/2010 @ 12:52pm
To be clear, the parking fee end time isn't set yet that I know of. It is currently proposed that metered time end at 8 PM. Sounds to late to me. I think 7 PM would be perfect. I came up with the 6 PM all clear time by taking the 8:00 PM free time, less 2 hours for metered time. i.e. if I where to go to the gaucho, and chose to drive, I could park at 6 PM, pay an entire $1.50 for the 2 hours, and then be good for the entire evening.

That being said, I'm normally too blury eyed after the Gaucho's martini's to drive home, so PT almost always takes me there, and then drops me off at the homestead when visiting the cowboy.

by fredo on 5/5/2010 @ 6:29am
I'm normally too blury eyed after the Gaucho's martini's to drive home, so PT almost always takes me there, and then drops me off at the homestead when visiting the cowboy. tacoma1

Finally the true importance of public transportation is beginning to emerge...it enables people to drink excessively without having to worry about a possible DUI.

by thriceallamerican on 5/5/2010 @ 1:15pm
Finally the true importance of public transportation is beginning to emerge...it enables people to drink excessively without having to worry about a possible DUI.

Heh, we tried that last Friday when we did drinks at Paddy Coyne's followed by dinner at PSP. By the time we were headed home, the 1 was on the infrequent evening schedule and it ended up being faster to walk the 2 miles home. Next time: keep an eye on the schedule and/or OneBusAway. But I digress...

by tacoma1 on 5/6/2010 @ 7:27am
Actually Fredo,
As I am a bipedal organism, and quite adept at ambulatory travel, I also regularly frequent the establishments on 6th Ave and the Proctor District. No transit needed on those trips. And since I have a personal zero tolerance policy of combining my car's steering wheel with the consumption of any amount of alcohol, I never drive after even one drink (fyi, I also have a 2 drink maximum). As I have closer options within a comfortable walking distance to my home, it is the downtown establishments that need access to transit to get my business.