TODAY'S QUESTION: Will you still park downtown if parking meter rates increase?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 12:33 p.m. CDT; updated 1:42 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Columbia City Council approved an acquisition to buy land from Broadway Lodging, LLC at Monday's meeting. The purchase, which will cost $1.25 million, will allow for a new parking garage to be built on Short Street.

Columbia recently opened a 10-story parking garage on Fifth and Walnut Streets. 

Mayor Bob McDavid said in previous council meetings that to help pay for the new Short Street garage, downtown parking meter rates should be increased. 

The city will look into raising downtown parking meter rates. Currently, Columbia's meter rates range from 30 to 50 cents. For example, if the rate was increased to 50 cents per hour for all parking meters, estimated revenue would increase $278,145.

Tony St. Romaine, assistant city manager, said parking meter rates in Columbia are relatively low to other comparable college towns. At a council work session, St. Romaine said average parking meter rates in other Big 12 cities on average were higher than 75 cents. 

Extending meter hours until 9 p.m. has also been discussed. An extension is projected to increase revenue by $120,000. 

One drawback to the plan is the potential to drive business out of downtown Columbia. If you want to eat at a restaurant or shop downtown, will the increased meter rates or extended meter hours encourage you to eat or dine somewhere that offers free parking?

Will you still park downtown if parking meter rates increase?

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Eric Cox March 23, 2011 | 6:50 p.m.

Let's make sure McDavid only serves one term, unfortunately that eight story eyesore of his will last for generations.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire March 23, 2011 | 7:10 p.m.

I think that fifty cents is reasonable in the daytime. I think that extending the hours is a bad idea. There isn't a shortage of spaces in the evening so therefore there should be no reason someone should expect to pay.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire March 23, 2011 | 7:11 p.m.

Someone might look at the question and the two answers. Someone might have made two answers that actually correspond to the question.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox March 23, 2011 | 8:11 p.m.

It's not the hourly rate it's why it being raised, in order to pay for the new garage they raised rates and *fines, parking wasn't that bad and that garage isn't going to help because no one wants to park south of Broadway

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 23, 2011 | 10:18 p.m.

Eric, I don't think the blame for the monster mega-garage can be pinned on McDavid. I'm pretty sure Darwin was mayor when that was approved, actually as far behind schedule as it ended up being it was definitely not under McDavid's watch.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 24, 2011 | 8:36 a.m.

John, I worte an email to the then-newly elected Paul Sturtz, urging him to oppose the proposed parking garages, and his response indicated that both garages have been in the city's planning for a long time, and this was maybe 2 1/2 years ago. So no, McDavid really had nothing to do with this.

As far as the parking question, if one needs to go downtown (for work, business, or pleasure), and one is not willing to either exert personal energy, or (horrors!!) share a conveyance with someone they don't know, they'll pretty much have to pay the meters whatever the cost.


(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble March 24, 2011 | 9:13 a.m.

I think part of the problem with downtown parking is that, whether it's justified or not, a lot of people have the feeling that they're already paying a premium to park there.

Not just a premium in money, which can already be a deterrent, but in other ways: time, in the extra time spent looking for a space and walking from that space (often blocks away from one's destination); stress, in the unpredictability of where/whether you'll be able to find a spot, how long it will take, and how much traffic/how many red lights you'll have to wait through before finding it; and in simple convenience - compared to parking at businesses outside of downtown, it's a large added effort.

Objectively speaking, it really doesn't take that much time or energy or disruption to park downtown. But the perception is there. And when one just needs to make a quick stop for a single purpose, all of the barriers listed above can be daunting. And the prospect of now paying more, or paying for longer hours, for the privilege of decreased convenience (parking further away in a taller parking structure)? That's not going to please many people.

It's not hard to look at the massive new garage and imagine a very different downtown landscape in 10 years or so, with some added development closer to the garage making all of the current parking moves make more sense. But in the meantime, the city is contemplating asking for more money, time, and inconvenience in return for little to no immediate benefit and ambiguous long-term benefit.

Times like these, I'm glad I live close enough to downtown to be able to reach it in multiple ways.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 24, 2011 | 4:02 p.m.

Yes, of course! ON MY BIKE.

I mean, please excuse me while I freely lock my bike to the meter you're waiting to feed, so you can leave your car right next to it.

And don't kick the bike out of spite, either. That's just plain mean. Really, this is probably the way it worked when you chose to start driving. Suck it up, or... Switch!

BTW: COMO BORG Bicycle Time Trial #3: 2:43. w00t! A new record! My goal is to break 2:30 now.

(Report Comment)

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