Ah, what delicious irony.
And what a wonderful additional reason why the City of Salem shouldn't be trusted with its proposal to put parking meters in downtown Salem, a.k.a. "the 20% tax on small business gross receipts."
Today my wife and five female friends met for lunch at the Marco Polo Global Restaurant. Each drove her own car. Four parked in the Pringle Parkade.
Together, they had to move their cars eleven times to find a working parking meter. Three women encountered three broken parking meters each. One woman encountered two broken meters.
There weren't obvious "Broken" signs on the meters. A few had broken notices on the back.
So they would pull into a parking space, get out of their car, find that the meter wasn't working (one woman lost 50 cents), get back into their car, move to another space, and repeat the irritating cycle.
Repeat: eleven times. In addition, they saw a family of five get out of their car and do the same broken parking meter dance.
At lunch, they wondered how this affected the restaurant. Nobody likes to put money in parking meters. But when you have to work so hard to find a working meter -- even more irritating.
Here's the delicious irony:
The City of Salem wants to install meters in onstreet parking spaces in downtown Salem, which currently are free with a two-hour limit. Why? Because the City claims that the current parking tax charged to downtown businesses doesn't provide sufficient revenue to maintain free parking in the area parking garages.
Yet the Pringle Parkade already has parking meters. Mostly non-working, it seems.
So the City of Salem isn't able to maintain this non-downtown parking garage propertly even though it is getting parking meter revenue from it. Why, then, should the citizens of Salem believe that making onstreet downtown parkers plug meters will solve the City's supposed parking garage maintenance problem?
The City has installed meters in the Pringle Parkade, yet obviously isn't capable of maintaining them in working order. This shows that the City of Salem doesn't have a revenue problem; it has a management problem.
The Mayor, City Manager, and City Councillors aren't making sound policy decisions. Not on parking meters that will harm downtown businesses. Not on an unneeded Third Bridge. Not on cutting down the US Bank trees for no good reason. Not on other poorly thought-out notions like a regressive streetlight tax.
A City that can't maintain the parking meters it already has shouldn't be asking to install hundreds more in downtown Salem. Especially when these new meters are unneeded and unwanted -- 8,000 people have signed a petition to ban downtown parking meters.