CHEAP SEATS: Free parking better than continuing with current plan
Two things need to be made absolutely clear regarding the recent efforts to get free parking in downtown Belleville.
The first is that no matter what proponents claim, free parking will not save the downtown. Free parking has never saved anything anywhere, for the simple and obvious reason that people don’t care how much it costs to park somewhere they have no interest in being.
The second thing is that council should do it anyway.
Whether parking is or isn’t the key to a vital downtown is no longer the major issue. What is is that downtown businesses need every bit of help they can get and free parking may provide that.
Rightly or wrongly, people perceive parking to be a problem. At the very least, horror stories of aggressive ticketing practices, whether true or not, are scaring people away.
So why not try something different.
After all, the city doesn’t have much lose. A good percentage of the money it collects right now for parking is sitting in a reserve account doing nothing because the city isn’t doing any repairs to the parking lots anyway. So it has wiggle room to try something different.
And more people downtown means more potential revenue from other streams like taxes and BDIA support of projects.
The reality is the current city parking practices aren’t working. Continuing with them won’t make them work any better.
I’m Bill Glisky and that’s the way I see things From the Cheap Seats
From the Cheap Seats can be heard Monday to Friday at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and noon on 95.5 Hits FM and Cool 100.1
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