Parking Downtown

This is sparked by some interesting history and background on parking in Fresno from Jerry Duncan on Mindhub.

Subject: [MindHub] Downtown Parking Reality 101

There has been some discussion going on recently regarding the cost of parking downtown. For those interested in learning the reality of how it really works, I offer these comments.

First a little history. Before the current administration took office in 2001, parking downtown really was a mess. There was a serious shortage in the number of spaces (there were only 5,680 stalls total in downtown) and what little the City had was filthy and unsafe. The structures were covered
in graffiti and none of the elevators or escalators worked. The parking meters on the streets had been removed and replaced with two hour of free parking (supposedly to bring people back to downtown). When I attended then State Senator Jim Costa’s Downtown Task Force meetings on Downtown
Revitalization in 2000, we found out that this “free” parking was being used primarily by downtown employees who would park on the street, leave work every two hours and move their cars.

The number one complaint we heard then about downtown was that there was no parking and they were right. In addition, parking rates were so low that no private parking structures could be built because they wouldn’t pencil out. When the current administration took office the downtown parking problem became one of our first priorities for downtown. As Chairman of the Fresno Redevelopment Agency, I worked very hard with the Mayor to develop a plan to solve this problem. We knew that without an adequate supply of clean, well maintained and affordable parking, the revitalization of Downtown Fresno would never happen.

The execution of this plan over the previous seven years has resulted in some pretty remarkable results. First, since 2001 the City has added 3,600 additional spaces of parking downtown in parking lots and parking structures. Did you know the new Convention Center parking structure cost
almost as much as the baseball stadium?

Second, because we raised overall parking rates to a still very competitive and reasonable level building private parking structures now made economic sense and 2,900 new stalls have been added by private companies. It is important to note that these private parking structures were the first ones built downtown in over 40 years and didn’t cost the taxpayers one cent.

There are currently 12,180 parking spaces available in downtown Fresno (an increase of 115% since 2001). Of the 12,180, 4,280 are privately owned and 7,900 are operated by the City of Fresno.

The parking fund, which operates as a separate cost center, is currently running a $5 million deficit which is currently being subsidized by all the taxpayers in Fresno, even those who don’t come downtown. The recent increases are part of a 10 year plan to try to break even. It has been the
City’s objective to reasonably pass on as much of the cost of providing parking downtown to the people who actually use it.

Even with the increases, Downtown Fresno is still one of lowest cost places to park in North America. Don’t believe me, look here: link.

It was interesting to me that someone suggested we place parking meters in other shopping areas around town to raise money. The reality is that unlike Downtown Fresno merchants, those merchants who are not located in downtown are paying for their customers parking. The cost of providing “free” parking to their customers is passed on by their landlords. If you shop at any shopping center outside of downtown, you are paying for the cost of the parking when you buy something because the business owner is passing on this cost in the price of their goods or services.

If the cost of lower parking is that important to the business owners downtown, they can provide their own parking (it is a requirement of development everywhere except downtown Fresno) or form a parking assessment district to raise funds to lower the cost of parking in city lots. I’m sure
the City would be willing to look at reducing the parking cost by the amount they raise.

Jerry Duncan

Recent semi-related links:
Livable streets report
Street design goals
Thinking about parking (DC)
Gas and the suburbs
Midnight oil
Suitcase bike
CA High speed rail analysis

Christmas Lists 2006

Dad’s already chomping at the bit, so let’s start adding wish lists as comments. If you think of something else and want to tack it on, go ahead and just add a new comment– I might combine it with your existing list to make shopping a little easier. (Of course, I might be lazy and leave them separate too… we’ll see how it goes.)

You don’t have to do anything special to post, though it won’t show up right away due to anti-spam measures. I’ll try and get it approved quickly, but I’m not on everyday so don’t sweat if it takes a while.

It seems early to say it, but “Merry Christmas!”

Christmas Lists 2004

Alright, I’m looking forward to the holidays. Before the spirit leaves me, I’d appreciate a little help with Christmas lists. I’m going to create a post for each person. Just click on “comments” and there will appear a box for you to scribble what goodies you want. If you think of something else that you want later, just add another comment.

Sizes are important, please include them in your first comment. (Well, sizes are important for clothing– I guess you don’t have to include sizes for DVDs.)

Adults, I’m sure we’ll coordinate this the usual way… barely. 🙂 Phone & email seem like good ways to “claim” items & prevent duplication.

Now, off to the individual posts, so that you’ll have something to respond to.

[Edited to add: Click the comment below the article with your name on it. I’ve moved previous comments into the proper threads. Sorry I wasn’t clearer earlier.]

Alysia — Christmas 2004 List

Alysia,

Hope you’re learning interesting stuff in school; what time period do your history classes cover this year?

On to the question we’ve all been waiting for– what do you want for Christmas? When you respond, please include clothing sizes (and if you’re in the juniors, teens, women’s, or whatever department, or where in the store your sizes are right). I’m probably not brave enough to try clothing shopping for you, but the information will probably be useful to other people with slightly better taste.

Thanks for scribbling back– hopefully I’ll be able to find cool stuff that you’ll enjoy. Though there are some good books out there that I may not be able to resist…
Uncle Scott

Myles — Christmas 2004 List

Hey Myles, good to type at you!

Anyway, I was wondering if there’s anything cool that you want for Christmas? Scribble it all here and we’ll fight like wildebeests to get the coolest stuff. Some of which we might even share with you, we’re that nice.

Um, yeah. Anyway, please include clothing sizes when you scribble your list (by hitting comment). After all, you have to have something easy for other people to get you…

Hope your turkey day is a good one!
Uncle Scott