In this article the parking meters in Downtown Tempe seem to
be driving away customers from the shops on Mill Avenue.
The greedy b*st*rds that run the People's Republic of Tempe extended the hours they shake down people for parking meter fees from 6pm to 10pm and the merchants on Mill Avenue are pissed off because it's driving away business.
We are told that parking meters are to "free up parking" and make parking more available to everybody, but that's BS. Parking meters are used to raise revenue.
Tempe parking meters confuse users, advisers contend
By Dianna M. Náñez The Republic | azcentral.com Fri Dec 7, 2012 9:47 AM
Business, civic and community leaders are concerned that parking in downtown Tempe is such a headache that some shoppers could become fed up to the point that they would avoid Mill Avenue.
Members of Mayor Mark Mitchell’s advisory group met Tuesday and discussed the issue with Downtown Tempe Community, which manages the Mill Avenue District for landowners and manages city-owned parking in the area.
Harry Mitchell, a former U.S. congressman and a former Tempe mayor, was among several group members who said that changes to downtown Tempe parking meters are confusing.
For several years, the meters were free after 6p.m. In the spring, the meters, which costs $1.50 per hour to park, were changed to require payment until 10p.m. That shift came after Tempe installed new meters that accept credit-card payment, DTC President Nancy Hormann said.
Mitchell said that considering the hefty $42 fine for an expired parking meter, it would behoove DTC officials to better inform residents of parking requirements.
The parking-meter hours are in small print on the meter, Hormann said. About half of the fine goes to the state and half to Tempe.
Advisory-group member Julian Wright, who owns three Mill Avenue restaurants, said that one $42 ticket is the price of a meal and getting stuck with that fine is enough to keep a customer from returning to downtown Tempe.
“I wasn’t a big fan of the 10 p.m. extension,” he said. Paying for a metered spot that used to be free after 6p.m. and returning to a ticket after spending money on Mill, “is off-the-charts ridiculous,” he said.
Wright noted that Scottsdale has free on-street parking in front of its Old Town businesses.
Hormann said that Scottsdale has planned its downtown so that most businesses are required to pay a fee toward maintaining free parking. That is not the case in Tempe, she said. Rather, developers must build parking but there is not a cap on how much lot owners can charge, she said.
Hormann and Wright agree that most downtown Tempe business owners and developers would balk at paying to maintain free on-street parking.
Mitchell said that the city should consider policy changes that would require businesses to contribute money to provide free parking, as it would benefit their consumers.
The parking meters that require payment until 10p.m. Monday through Saturday are on Mill Avenue and about a half-block either side of Mill, as well as on College Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown Tempe, Hormann said. Those meters are free on Sunday and each day after 10p.m.
Hormann said that most major downtowns charge for on-street parking to encourage turnover.
“People are willing to pay for the convenient parking space,” she said.
However, Hormann stressed that there are about 400 free parking spaces within a block or two of downtown Tempe. Free parking is available all day and evening at the Fifth Street and Farmer Avenue surface lot. Parking also is free weekdays after 6p.m., and all day on weekends at the City Hall Garage, 117 E.Fifth St. Charges may apply during some special events. Four downtown lots also provide the first hour for free.
Hormann said that signage for downtown parking is in the design phase and she expects it to be up in about two months.
Group member Maryanne Corder said that appropriate signage notifying residents of parking-meter fees and free parking in the area is long overdue. Posting proper signage must become a DTC and city priority, she said.
For a map of all downtown Tempe parking sites and parking rates visit: http://www.millavenue.com/parking1.
Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe Cesspool for the Arts