Moscow has quite a vibrant downtown for a small city.
It’s no wonder folks often stroll the streets day or night. And if it weren’t for the “parking problem,” maybe the headcount would be greater. At least that’s some of the thinking found around town.
To get a better handle on the parking situation, a $45,000 “comprehensive downtown parking study” is included as part of the city’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget. The obvious takeaway is studies are becoming more expensive.
Unfortunately, if the study is approved and conducted, it will probably end up on a dusty shelf in City Hall with its sister studies undertaken to get to the bottom of a perceived problem or create marketing schemes. The studies usually are not useful in solving much of anything.
Don’t get us wrong, there is a parking problem in downtown Moscow.
However, it’s a minor one and has been for years with a simple solution that doesn’t require a study.
Too many people want to park as close as possible to their downtown destination. They are loath to park in the many spaces available on side streets and in nearby residential areas.
Parking scarcity is also exacerbated by those business owners and employees who use street and lot parking for their vehicles and then move those vehicles every few hours to remain legally parked.
There’s nothing as exasperating for a customer than when a clerk asks you to wait a few minutes while they move their car to another parking space.
There’s a better business model than employees filling spaces that should be used by customers.
Since the last parking study in 2008, the city has tweaked a few problem areas with little or no observable difference.
If approved, the recommendations will undoubtedly be creative, expensive and, in the long run, rejected by staff and City Council as unimplementable.
Some ideas we could expect from the study may include: an extensive use of metered parking; a multi-story parking structure; a park-and-ride lot; increased inventory of spaces; rules forbidding employees and owners from using downtown parking; increased code enforcement for parking scofflaws; elimination of all parking in the downtown area; and, finally, education of the public to the realities of the situation and how to adapt by walking, riding public transportation, ride sharing or parking a few blocks from a destination.
The latter option is the most doable and has been sporadically encouraged for years.
Perhaps a new, concerted effort is the path to take and the $45,000 earmarked for the study would go a long way to help in the education effort. Don’t waste the money on another dust collector.
— Murf Raquet, for the editorial board