THE PARKING GARAGE.
Hey, I'll admit when I'm wrong. I really thought the garage would be a disaster, but it has proven to be very beneficial. Easy to use, you just pull in, park and walk away. Only half a block from my store. Occasionally, the first few levels will fill up -- somebody is having a big meeting -- but mostly, there is a spot. I haven't even checked the 4th and 5th levels, but assume there is plenty of parking there.
I don't know if the garage is paying for itself, but I do hope most of the downtown merchants are using it, and enough of the customers. It costs to park all day, but the first 2 hours are free.
There is some fine-tuning the city could do. Most of my customers hardly seem aware of the garage, and most assume that it costs money. I know that I thought there would be the hassle of tags and attendents, etc., so I assume the public thinks so too. We haven't done a very good job of telling people about the garage.
I also think that the monthly parking fees might be a little high for minimum wage, part-time employees. Most middle-aged, middle-class merchants and city officials have probably forgotten what it feels like to live on minimum wage. Sure, it will cost a young person more money in the long-run to play 'parking tag' than to just buy a parking permit. But that logic doesn't hold up when a parking permit costs maybe 10% of a paycheck. I'd suggest that the 4th level be cheaper for downtown employees since that level isn't used as much.
So when I express skepticism over the Transportation System, and over white elephants like the Tower Theatre, and less than enthusiasm for most of the 'Festivals' that close downtown streets, remember that I was willing to admit I was wrong.....this once.
3 days ago