For several decades downtown districts in California and across the country have attempted to avoid becoming blighted areas, as shopping centers have sprung up in outlying areas, attracting chain stores and taking customers away from downtown.
Hoping to attract store owners and shoppers to keep the downtowns from becoming eyesores of shuttered and neglected buildings, citizens have spent a lot of time and money on revitalizing downtown areas.
Many cities have been successful in improving the character and appearance of the downtown areas and in providing free and convenient parking so that the locally owned specialty shops could compete with the chain stores.
It wasn’t that parking meters were a great expense; it was knowing that as taxpayers we paid for the parking area AND the parking meters AND the salary of the cheery little man who scooted around and gave us a $40 ticket if we were a minute late getting back to our cars to put in our quarters.
Now in their infinite wisdom California state legislators are considering a law to ban free parking in downtown areas. And, of course, the politician's best friend, Global Warming, is cited.
State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) has won Senate approval of a proposal geared to prompt cities to reduce the availability of free parking.
Free parking encourages people to drive instead of taking the bus, walking or riding a bike.
Of course the Wal-marts, Targets, Lowe’s, Home Depots, McDonald’s, Walgreens, movie theatres, supermarkets, and malls on private property will continue to provide parking without meters.
And we're even smart enough to know that they don't offer "free parking" because they are fond of us.
One of the supporters said, “Free street parking is paid for by the entire community in the form of higher taxes.”
Of course the same can be said for the streets we drive on and the free street parking in front of people’s houses, both paid for by the cities, not the state. I’m guessing if you put parking meters in front of the houses on your street, you wouldn’t have any more guests than businesses would have customers.
But wait, here’s the best part: Besides the stick, here is the carrot. He is promising that cities which take action to prohibit free parking could get more state money for parking garages, transit programs, and “bonus points in competing for state grants.”
This from a state that has done everything it could to steal money from cities and counties to make up for an insane budget deficit.
Obviously the California legislators don’t get what every other citizen understands: THE. STATE. HAS. NO. MONEY!!
Send in the clowns, Don’t bother, they’re here.