Wednesday, October 28, 2009

180 degree turn.

O.K.

I had some sympathy for the parking violators....until I read this mornings article in the Bulletin; "Bend's Downtown Parking Offenders Want Leniency, Not Limits."

This quote was particularly off putting.

"It's a tit-for-tat war with them," Smith said. "I've figured out where to park where I want, and I will take the tickets. Some days they'll get you and some days they won't."

WTF?

This guy has gotten 850.00 worth of tickets, and had his car booted. So not only is he taking up valuable parking space because he won't walk a measly block, but he pays 60% more than if he just parked in the damn garage?

Where's the business sense in that?

Or Mike Millette, of 900 Wall, getting 31 tickets and his car booted 4 times. I buy his argument that he needed access to his restaurant while it was being created; but 31 times? I have to figure he got away with it twice that much, probably, by playing parking tag, and that stretches credulity that he "Needed" that much time.

Mike, buddy, you need to set a better example.

Given all that, this paragraph is pretty much a non-starter:

"Some business owners said they think the city should do away with parking time limits all together..."

Yeah, right. My guess is that 90% of the downtown customers don't stay past two hours, anyway. Remember, there are no limits in the evening so you can linger over your meal as long as you want. It's the owners and employees who need more than that. So guess who's likely to abuse the privilege?

I have sympathy for the minimum wage, part time employees, but if 24.00 parking is available, instead of just the 45.00 I'm paying in the garage, even that sympathy is starting to fade...

I'm puzzled why business owners would park in front of their own businesses instead of walking a block or two. Really. I mean, I see a car pull in front of my store and people get out and I think customers. They may or may not walk into my store, but if that parking spot wasn't there, there is no chance they'll walk in my door.

Grow up, people!

(NOTE: BD points out they may still walk into my door if they park farther away, which is true; if they don't just keep driving. I guess there is a better chance they'll walk into my door if they can park closer and I guess that I'd like to make it as easy as possible for them. But yeah....good point.)

15 comments:

blackdog said...

"They may or may not walking into my store, but if that parking spot wasn't there, there is no chance they'll walk in my door."

Are you saying customers won't come into your shop unless they can park RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR DOOR? That's how I read it.

If it's true, you must have mighty few customers.

Damn, if there was a fire hydrant there you'd have no customers at all!

Duncan McGeary said...

Good point. I addressed it in the blog. Didn't think that through....

Broofa said...

@BD: I think you may be (deliberately?) misinterpreting Dunc's statements.

There's a simple equation for quantifying the relationship between store and parking space distance:

P = Nc * Pw(R) / Ns(R)

Where ...

P = Probability of customer entering a store
Nc = Average number of stores a customer visits per trip
R = Distance between parking spot and store
Pw(R) = Probability customer is willing to walk distance R
Ns(R) = Total number of stores within distance R

Pw(R) - the willingess to walk - probably falls at least linearly as a function of R, if not more.

Furthermore Ns(R) - the number of potential stores a customer might go to - increases by R-squared.

Thus, as R increases, the probability a customer will visit a store at that distance falls by R-cubed - 1/(R*R*R) E.g. For a given parking space, a store one block away will see 8x the number of customers from that space as a store 2 blocks away.

... at least, that's my theory. :-D

Broofa said...

@BD: Whups, just re-read Dunc's statement, "if that parking spot wasn't there, there is no chance they'll walk in my door", which obviously isn't right. So, uh, my apologies - sounds like you interpreted it just about right. My bad. :P

Duncan McGeary said...

I like your equation, though!

shopping monkey said...

Oh, but customers DO want to park right in front of their first stop downtown (or at least very close). I've had countless conversations with customers who say they circled three times to park, and then gave up and left. "But there's the garage right there," I say. "You can drive right in, and park free for 3 hours." There are three choices in the unwavering responses: A) Oh, I always forget it's there; B) I was too frustrated by the time I went around and around; or C) It's too far away.

It's their prerogative. Employees (and owners!) should not be taking up customer spaces. Period.

I still say, why don't they make that top level of the garage really cheap or free to encourage workers to park there? Or make a two-tier voucher system or something where part-timers can buy cheap daily parking passes?

By the way, some do spend more than a few hours downtown. Haircut, manicure, meet the girls for lunch, do a little shopping... could take all day. Not that I get to do that...

RDC said...

Or an interpretation (which is what I think you meant) that if the owners car fills that spot then there is absolutely no chance for a potential customer to fill it.

Duncan McGeary said...

They should've had free parking on the top level of the garage over the last few years...

Too late now, with the Hotel coming in.

blackdog said...

"Pw(R) - the willingess to walk - probably falls at least linearly as a function of R, if not more."

I think it's oversimplifying matters to assume that. There are many variables that would affect the customer's willingness to walk a given distance -- the weather, his/her health and age, the kind of terrain (level, uphill or downhill), the intensity of his/her desire to go to the store, and probably others I haven't thought of.

tim said...

Also, some people (like my mom) have no sense of direction and get lost if they park two streets away.

My mom will almost certainly bail on the expedition if she can't park within site of the store.

blackdog said...

Y'know, it's not as if downtown Bend covered some vast area. It ain't Manhattan or even Portland. Hell, it ain't even Ashland or Walla Walla. The central shopping district comprises -- what, eight square blocks? Anybody who can't or won't walk three or four blocks (short ones at that) to get to a store is either awfully damn decrepit or awfully damn lazy.

I've always thought downtown's parking "problem" has been greatly exaggerated. I remember that in the mid-'80s you could park anywhere you wanted downtown -- but nobody shopped there. It wasn't lack of parking spaces that almost killed downtown and it wasn't a sudden availability of parking spaces that revived it.

Whenever I hear people clucking their tongues about downtown's "parking problem" today I think of Yogi Berra's comment about a popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore -- it's too crowded."

tim said...

"Anybody who can't or won't walk three or four blocks (short ones at that) to get to a store is either awfully damn decrepit or awfully damn lazy."

This from a almost perpetually cold guy who admits to not "playing" 8 months out of the year in Bend because of the weather.

I had you pegged for a guy reluctant to get out of his car and walk four blocks to Duncan's store because the hot blast from the car heater feels so nice.

RDC said...

There is also the issue on the type of purchase that plays in the decision. I, and I suspect others, would be willing to walk several blocks to get to a place of business that I had to get to such as a bank, or some other relatively essential activity. On the other hand a store like Duncan's is kind of shopping as entertainment. The items just don't fit into the I have to get it today category. As such the odds of someone dropping in if they happen to see a nearby parking spot goes up quite a bit and your are more likely to get a reaction of I will put it off until another day if nearby parking is filled.

blackdog said...

"I had you pegged for a guy reluctant to get out of his car and walk four blocks to Duncan's store because the hot blast from the car heater feels so nice."

LOL! Actually I quite often walk four blocks, and farther, downtown. And I walk a half-hour every day for fun and exercise.

The hot blast from the car heater IS nice, though ...

Michael said...

Hey Duncan,
Yeah you are right I do need to set a better example. I have been parking as often as possible outside the downtown parking district as of late. I could probably come up with a lot of excuses (maybe even one or two that were legit), but why. It was, what it was. Hope all continues to go well and it seems like Minnesota has really gotten some positive vibes back lately.
Cheers,

Mike