Question: How do you feel about the commission approving a paid parking program downtown?
“I don’t really care for it.”
Natalie Sprenger, National Hair Center
“It’s crazy. In this economy we want to be welcoming people, not pushing them away. Retail stores are going out of business one after another. It will make people stop coming to the Main Street area.”
“I think it’s tragic. I think that the shopkeepers are truly, truly going to find a decline. Every merchant I’ve talked to about it is unhappy.”
Kathy Blankenship, Friend’s Jewelers
“We’ve been here 32 years. We’ve seen them put up meters before and then take them down. The system doesn’t work.”
Ron Soto, Soto’s Optical Boutique
“I’m for the meters because of this logic: There should be paid parking where it’s convenient, right in front of the stores. If people have to go out of the way to park, like in the parking garages and parking lots, it should be free. Also, two hours is not enough time to get everything done that one wants to get done downtown. The parking garages or lots should be free for three hours and after that time, a fee should be charged.”
Alison Bishop, Living Walls Furniture and Design
“I am very happy that they have committed to doing it in phases. I think that the parking garages in conjunction with the meters can work. If a parking garage goes up before they begin charging with the meters, it will provide maximum flexibility.”
Fred Sciola, Smokin’ Joes Pub
“We don’t like it. I just don’t understand why they have to keep chasing people away from downtown.”
What do you think? Leave your comments under reader comments.
Currently 12 Responses
- The merchants and the public should look for an attorney to do a pro-bono suit against the City of Sarasota and force the City to install parking meters in every parking space within the city limits. If meters are good for anyone, then it follows that they should be good for everyone. Maybe, just maybe the Commissioners would understand how idiotic their parking meter idea is if they looked at the big picture.
- WE need to encourage business as in this economy every customer counts.
Our merchants are having a difficult time remaining open and if we loose our core business we loose our vibrant model of downtown.
We must also find a way to get the employees and owners of the downtown business to park in the no charge garages provided for long teerm parking so on street parking is freeed up for customer use.
- I've just come back from Amherst and Northhampton Mass. where I often chose not to go downtown for fear of a ticket if I paid and ran over.
Ditto for Rockport Mass. where we drove to nearby town where we could find unmetered parking. In Rockport the meters were "running" seven days a week.
Meters discourage business. They are unfriendly and say, this town is overrun. How many of you will go to downtown restaurants if a long conversation will result in a parking ticket?
- The Ciy of Beverly Hills under Mayor Ben Stansbury faced similar critical decisions. They ended up providing free 2-hour open lots right in the center of shopping and free 3-hour centrally-located garages. The result was the spectacularly successful renaissance of the Golden Triangle, an area bounded by three key streets that soon attracted more high-end retailers not only to Rodeo Drive but several surrounding streets. Whether you are a tourist or an affluent shopper, you are able to find free parking quickly and patronize restauirants, shops and attractions. I think that should be the goal for Sarasota.
The American Reporter
- The "parking meter" initiative provides the ultimate example of local government listening to, but not hearing, the voices of the people who elect them.
*88% of downtown merchants were polled and voted against parking meters (under the auspices of the Downtown Merchants Assn in 2008) because they know it will adversely effect their businesses.
*The Downtown Improvement District, whose Board is comprised almost entirely of downtown developers, aims for a vibrant downtown core. Incidentally, this body is the product of the very City Commission which now ignores the DID's advice against proceeding with partking meters at this time.
*Every poll of downtown residents / visitors / customers has shown that voters oppose downtown parking meters. If the City's commissioners won't accept the words of its retailers, whose very existence depends on a pleasant and workable downtown, conduct an official vote, and ask voters what they want.
*The month after the previous group of City Commissioners voted down parking meters, Commissioner Kirschner, at that time newly elected proposed that the City "explore" putting parking meters downtown. Parking meters had been installed downtown, at great cost , twice previously --thereafter removed, at great cost. Why can't our City Commissioners learn by the lessons which history provides!
The underlying problem with Sarasota's leaderless City Commission system is that we treat City Commission posts as part-time jobs, and pay Commissioners accordingly. Sarasota is big enough to require its most talented professionals to aspire to these very demanding full-time positions- and they should receive a fair wage commensurate with those responsibilites. And- yes a full-time qualified and elected Mayor should translate the wishes of the Sarasotans which elect her / him into effective action.
- Our City Government is doing all it can to ruin Sarasota's city center, first they allowed huge developments totally out of scale with the size of our downtown area and now we will have parking meters to boot. What were they thinking? I regret the day I moved out of the city boundaries because now I cannot vote them out of office.
- Parking meters at this time are a big mistake. If they are not a mistake then they should be installed everywhere. No sense in picking on downtown. St Armands needs meters. The beaches need meters. Newtown needs meters. Osprey Village and Hillview need meters. Burn's Court needs meters. Good for the goose - good for the gander.
- Parking Meter gives me the Impression that the place I'm visiting is saying... "Leave your Money but don’t Stay Long"... Not a friendly Welcome.... Does Walmart Charge to Park?.... They should rethink there thinking before installing those pesky time keepers….
- Studies in other towns show that meters don't work. Apart from the disaster this will create downtown, the tax payers are ultimately paying for this mistake. In this economy any and all business should be encouraged, it is ultimately what will put us back on our feet, not more taxation and fees.
- I am really worried about the effect on Sarasota downtown businesses. There may be a few areas where parking spaces are at a premium, and meters can be justified. Elsewhere, it's just a grab for revenue by short-sighted council members, who don't realize that a healthy downtown community is an asset this community has that many do not. I hope they will reconsider.
- The editorial in the Longboat Observer said it all when it pegged the four Sarasota Commissioners as the "Feckless Foursome." What a bunch of boobs. And yet they were elected by an even greater number of boobs! Go figure.
Milan V. Adrian
- It is tough enough to get people to go downtown. I think it is just another nail in the coffin. I rarely go downtown, because it is inconvenient. Make me pay for parking, and I will NEVER go downtown again. Malin Parker
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