There's a divergence of opinions in today's 'Opinion' section of the Spokesman-Review. First I found this letter from a gentleman from Coeur d'Alene angry about having to pay for parking (and in his defense $40 IS pretty stiff for parking in downtown Spokane):
Finding a place to park at the recent “Get Motivated” seminar was almost impossible. But if you were lucky enough to get a spot, the price could be steep.
At 9:30 a.m., it seemed every place was either filled or blocked off. I circled the Arena two or three times, and then out of the corner of my eye saw a space at the YMCA facility. The gate was down and Lady Luck was on my side.
I returned at 4 p.m., only to see a blocking exit bar. There must be a mistake. I pushed the “help” button and was told to read the screen. It was $40 for a six-hour period. I couldn’t believe it. The situation was akin to a predator setting a trap for its prey. I had an appointment to make so a credit card cleared the way. Would I go back to the Arena for a similar event? As Poe’s Raven said, “Never more.”
Then I came on this Smart Bombs article about how free parking is bad for our country. The article talks about how the prospect of a cheap parking space compels many drivers to methodically circle downtown streets in search of a metered space. This increases congestion, wastes fuel and makes downtowns less inviting. Not to mention that high parking prices encourage many people to use public transit rather than pay the going price.
So what's your take? Cheap parking to encourage people to come downtown and shop, thus increasing tax dollars and improving the local economy or steeper parking prices to reduce congestion and encourage commuters to use public transit? I'm obviously playing devil's advocate here.