Although I am strangely fascinated by A&E's reality show Parking Wars....I'm talking about the downtown Champaign parking situation.
So imagine this...a city works hard to revitalize its downtown area...and successfully so...its clean, there are several fabulous restaurants, bars, and cafes....some cute shops...two movie theaters...the summer is great with lots of music, festivals, etc. We also have some great companies that have taken downtown as their home. So, people flock to downtown but there is a minor parking issue. You may have to park and walk a few blocks. The solution is to build a parking structure! Problem solved...oh wait, how do we pay for this? Raise the parking fees (meters, pay periods, and tickets). Yay...problem solved....oh no! economy takes a major dive. People don't want to pay that much for parking...so they stop coming to downtown...which makes the local economy even worse.
So now, the local businesses are losing money....and no one is paying for the parking structure that isn't SO needed anymore since people aren't flocking downtown. So now what?
The city is proposing a change in the pay periods (e.g. reducing meter hours). A meeting will take place Tuesday at 7pm (see NG article).
Here's where really looking at the big picture is really important.
On a side note...I love downtown Champaign (and I don't mind walking there or parking on a side street and walking a bit)...but I do think there needs to be a family-orientated (and reasonably priced) restaurant there. The bars are great! The coffee shops are delightful! The restaurants are amazing! But everything is fancy-smacy and expensive or a bar. (Mary Ann's is the exception but....).