Anyone who has ever driven into downtown, especially on a Tuesday, complains about the lack of parking spaces near Nisbet Park. Well, it seems that the city administration and council have found the answer to the city’s parking woes – metered parking.
The first parking meter was installed in 1935 in Oklahoma City. It was heralded as the great solution to the parking problem in their business district. Are parking meters a workable solution to Loveland’s parking issues?
First, let’s start with a little background on the parking issue and what some will say is a very provocative question – is the issue a lack of available parking or is it the lack of spaces within a few feet of the building where a person wants to go? In 2014 a Downtown Parking Advisory Committee (DPAC) was appointed by city council to study and make recommendations regarding downtown signage and parking concerns. Acting city manager at the time, Dave Duckworth stated “the committee inventoried the existing public and private parking currently available in downtown Loveland as well as parking that is in walking distance to downtown. The committee identified 375 existing public parking spaces. He noted that when Loveland Station and the McCoy parking lots are completed the City will have 643 public parking spaces in the downtown area, which included 52 on-street parking spaces in downtown.” Attached The committee recommended to city council that there should be three parking term categories – short (2 hours), mid, (4 hours) & long-term (no hour limits). Attached The chairperson of the committee, Tim O’Grady, was asked if the committee discussed metered parking, Mr. O’Grady said “that it was briefly discussed but is not being recommended at this time. Attached The committee’s recommendations were approved by city council in 2015 and the time limits and signage were recently completed and implemented throughout downtown. However, there has not been any information regarding the enforcement of the time limits, any outreach efforts to the downtown business community regarding employee parking habits or input from the public on the adopted parking regulations so it seems premature to enter into an agreement regarding parking meters downtown without seeing the results of the previous recommendations.
City Manager Dave Kennedy and council will point out that this proposal is only a pilot program. According to Mr. Kennedy’s July 24, 2018 memorandum “the pilot program, which would be at no cost to the city, would allow the city to better determine the feasibility of the meters including operational items such as collections, enforcement, pricing and maintenance. Attached There is no mention as to the time frame or criteria for judging the success or failure of this “pilot program.” In another memorandum dated June 26, 2018, Mr. Kennedy provides a summary of estimated costs for installing 27-110 parking meters ranging from $32,599 - $124,125. Attached
With a healthy skepticism of government actions particularly when it comes to the spending of taxpayer’s money, do you really believe this is just a “pilot program” that will result in no cost to the city? It seems a decision to place parking meters downtown has already been made. Who in the administration or council made the suggestion regarding parking meters? Have council members been meeting with company officials behind closed doors? Why does this council continue to operate in a non-transparent way? Why does this council make decisions that directly impact the public without any direct discussion with the public? Parking meters may be a workable solution to the city’s parking issues but what is the harm in applying a practical and low cost solution – enforcement of time restrictions and community outreach, before we embark on a costly plan that has not been properly discussed with the community as a whole.
I always believe in offering solutions to problems and I have several ideas regarding the parking issue. I will share some of those ideas on our future podcasts – so stay tuned. In the meantime, I am interested in your viewpoint and solutions regarding this issue so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to like us on Facebook – Eye On Loveland and follow us on Twitter @eyeonloveland - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential.
Pamela Gross / President - Eye On Loveland Inc.