Yes. The solution with the most support is to add $1 parking to the three downtown garages and dedicate the income to an annual maintenance program. Leave the on-street parking free and unlimited-time for downtown customers.
DOLLAR A DAY: Just a dollar to park in the garages, pay on the way out. No matter how long you park – you only pay $1. This would double the income in the garages overnight and encourage employees/volunteers to park where they should – off-street. Major department stores could validate parking to keep it free for their customers.
Remember – if the city puts parking meters on-street, the next step could be to sell the three downtown garages. Once the garages are sold, they will install meters. Then there will be NO free parking anywhere downtown.
MAKE EVERYONE PAY: The city could help solve their revenue problem by collecting parking tax from ALL downtown businesses. The Conference Center brings in 900,000 a year, but they pay no parking tax, the Wednesday Farmers Market pays no parking tax. Events at Riverfront Park pay nothing into the Parking District for their customers to park downtown.
FAIR SHARE: The City pays all the costs of the other garages it owns – why couldn’t the city pay their fair share of the downtown garage costs? The are a public asset held in trust for the benefit of the citizens.
PRIVATE MANAGEMENT: Putting the garages out for private management would lower the costs for maintenance, management and operation of the parking garages. In Portland, all the city owned garages are managed by SmartPark – those garages make money that goes to the general fund to help pay costs for police and fire services. We don’t need to have city staff salaries paid from the Parking District budget if it’s broke.
STOP TAKING MONEY FROM THE DISTRICT FOR GENERAL FUND COSTS: Beginning in 2011- the City Council voted to take $230,000 of Parking District money to pay for general fund costs. If the Parking District is broke, stop using it pay for general fund costs.
CAPTURE ALL GARAGE INCOME IN ONE FUND: The City has two funds for the downtown garage income. The Leasehold Fund money comes from rents paid by the 11 tenants on the ground floors of Liberty and Chememketa Parkades. The City has decided to not spend any Leasehold Funds for maintenance on the garages. The Leasehold fund brings in over $500,000 a year. The city wants to reserve that income just for costs associated with the 11 tenant spaces in Liberty and Chemketa Parkades, and to pay city managment and operations costs.
The Parking District Fund get’s its income from 1.) employees purchasing parking permits, and 2.) Parking Tax paid by downtown businesses. All income from the garages should go into one fund to pay for maintenance, operation and management of the garages. Thats responsible building management practice.