Special to the Columbia Heart Beat
I was talking to a sales clerk in a downtown store and she said the City is encouraging them to rent spaces in the new garage. But $50 is just too much for low income employees. And now, with street parking rate increases, meters cost an employee about $100/month.
The sales clerk's solution? Arrive early enough to get a free parking space out in the fringe around downtown. Not a really good solution for the downtown community as a whole.
Both the new garage and the garage by FedEx/Kinkos are empty. What if downtown employees – particularly those in low paying jobs – could park in either/both of them for $10 or $20/month? All those cars would be pulled out of street parking spots, leaving them for shoppers. Seems like some sort of employee validation system could be set up. Although the City would not be getting top dollar, at least it would help cover electricity bills AND free up street parking.
For what it's worth, here is my opinion of Mayor McDavid's assessment of the "possible brilliance" of those behind the 5th & Walnut Garagezilla who expect grand high-rise buildings to follow. With increasing climate disruption, we don't have that kind of time. Elevators -- and electrical black-outs -- are not a mix people can live with for very long.
See Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard at the Daniel Boone Library.