Letter: New downtown parking will be a put-off for full-time residents
To the editor,
I hate every single aspect of this downtown parking program. I don’t like the kiosks or the signs or anything that speaks of paying to park in my town. It isn’t the money. I’m not poor. I’m just annoyed.
The only reason this happened was because the “entitled” restaurant & shop owners and their “entitled” employees have no care or common sense about what it really takes to run a long-term business or what this forced program will do to the city and its residents. They’re all about the quick tourist dollar and how little they care about the people who live here and spend the majority of their income here.
Especially the seniors. Did you know that in a “retirement town” such as Paso Robles, 86-percent of a retirees income is spent in the town where they reside? Do you know that the most stable economic factor of a town is from retirement income?
And yes, maybe they spend a fair amount of that income at Walmart and Kohl’s and JCP. But when they go out to eat, or to the show or concerts in the park, that’s to our downtown. They struggle to find a close-by or handicap space as it is, and now you’ve made it even more difficult.
These are not 30 year olds who can run back and forth from the kiosk to their car. These are folks who spend an inordinate amount of time and effort just getting from point A to point B. You have virtually disenfranchised them from their own downtown. Tourists don’t stop coming because parking is a problem. But residents do.
Why didn’t the city provide parking lots with city shuttles for the employees? We have lots of city property they could have used for that.
They could have engaged shopping centers like the Walmart/JCP and Albertsons to allow for employee parking and shuttle pick-up areas. Alternatives were out there!
They did provide parking lots for employees, but then required them to walk back and forth to their jobs, sometimes late at night. Clearly not the best plan because not enough employers and employees cooperated.
Why aren’t we requiring the hotels to provide shuttles? I can guess on that.
Tick off the hotels? The geese that lay the golden eggs? Naw. They’re not going to jeopardize their precious TOT by putting too many financial and logistic burdens on the big guys. Better they lay that on us. I think it would be a great idea to give them a 1-percent break on their TOT to provide a shuttle! That would keep 1000s of cars out of the downtown area. But what do I know?
When the economy takes its inevitable dump here in the next couple of years, watch the tourism drop and shops close. Not to mention the unavoidable restaurant closings. This is not a matter of if, but when? But before that happens, the homeless issue will grow exponentially and get even further out of control. We’ll have more fires in the riverbed, more trash on riverwalk and more of those folks sleeping in the park. That’ll be great for tourism! If the city spent as much money on the homeless/riverbed issues as it does on tourism, we could solve that problem as well as the plethora of other ongoing issues we have and never get resolved. Issues that don’t seem to have as much money, thought and energy put into them as does tourism.
The city spent inordinate amounts of money on this program to just tick off its full-time residents. Great job. Mission accomplished!
Concerned Paso Robles resident