The obvious compromise on Easton’s parking meter rates would be to lower prices during off-peak times, and raise prices during peak times. The new electronic meters the city is testing out are able to do this.
Remember what the parking study said: most of the time there is no parking shortage. There’s only a surge in demand twice a day.
- the Pine Street parking garage is underutilized
- the on-street parking supply is insufficient to meet the evening entertainment demand
- the demand for parking in the Downtown district peaks at noon and 8 p.m.
- 83 percent of on-street parkers stay two hours or less
- only 13 percent of those parked at meters stay over the time limit
- on-street metered spaces turn over an average of 2.7 times per day
- seasonal influx doubles the number of daily transactions at the Pine Street garage in July and August
Since parking demand peaks just twice a day, it doesn’t make sense to raise the meter rates for the whole day. You don’t want to overprice curb parking most of the time just to address the shortages during peak times. You’re using a cleaver when you could be using a scalpel. Why not just raise prices to $1 during the peak hours and keep them at 50 cents the rest of the time?
The prices would look like this:
•7am – 11am – $0.50
•11am – 2pm – $1.00
•2pm – 7pm – $0.50
•7pm – 10pm – $1.00
•10pm to 7am – Free
Doing it this way, people who really care about paying lower curb rates, and have more flexibility about when they need to go downtown, can adjust their trips accordingly. And people who really need to be downtown during the peak times will be able to find a space more conveniently, since the higher rates will “create” 1 or 2 more open curb spaces per block during the busiest times. The prices help people sort themselves, and help cycle more customers in for businesses during the peak hours.