Downtown workers may lose another parking option

Via Google News – katherine tam @ The Olympian, “Drivers may soon lose free park zone – The Olympian“:

Drivers may soon lose free park zone
The Olympian,’WA’-Feb 28, 2006
By KatherineTam. KatherineTam covers the city of Olympia for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-704-6869 or ktam@theolympian.com.

80% use of free parking does not indicate that it’s full, so this is neither a pressing issue nor one without some created urgenct. Nor does that indicate how much use there will be if people have to pay, which changes the balance sheet on how to pay for things.

This is a change to make downtown a commercial zone, not a zone where people live and play. Is that what the vision is for downtown? Just another open air mall?

And in the sidebar, there’s a history of the zone:

History of the 90-minute parking zone
1988: The zone was free with a two-hour limit. There was no restriction for moving from one space to another.

Early 1990s: The free zone changed to a three-hour limit, and parking was allowed only once per day.

1999: Time limit was shortened to 90 minutes, and the once-per-day restriction was removed.

Changes were made to deal with store employees who were moving their cars from one space to another within the zone.

Note here that changes were made to put the kibosh on the use of parking by workers. So, parking isn’t for workers unless they pay? It’s important to nickel and dime the people that work downtown and service the upscale shoppers the current vision seems to be focused on only if you aren’t one of those workers. But also keep in mind that there really aren’t any buses early in the morning or very late at night for workers, or anyone else, especially on the weekends.

Further, there is always the question of where the people currently using the parking, that are being designed out of the target market, will go. Sure, it’s nice to construct this as a new reason to build parking garages. There’s plenty of parking in Olympia, really. There’s parking lots all over the place, but it’s conditions of use that will make downtown more and more unfriendly.

Just how unfriendly to people should a downtown be? If downtown is to be any sort of commons, it must be available to everyone. Progress should be in making downtowns more friendly, not just into a high price commercial luxury zone.