Posted September 19, 2018
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I had to chuckle when someone sent me a picture of a half-empty parking lot with $5 parking and a "Brian Spencer" sign. It would be funny if it were not so serious. The parking issue in downtown Pensacola is no joke.
ALL parking should be free after 5:00 p.m. during the week and all day on weekends. And we need a price structure that better serves all who work and play in downtown Pensacola.
The Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) decision to change both the parking pricing structure and the hours of parking enforcement is wrong. My position is clear; parking is an essential amenity to both the customers who visit downtown and the merchants who operate there. The growth we have seen in downtown retail and hospitality establishments is fueled by the ability of people to access downtown, especially on Saturdays and after hours. The purpose of parking is to serve the commerce that is conducted downtown. It is not the purpose of parking to serve as a revenue source for a specific district, namely the Downtown Improvement Board.
The economic truth for most of our parking is that it is elastic, meaning demand is widely moved by small changes in pricing. This simply means we can actually get more people visiting and raise more revenue by reducing prices.
With the current technology, we can offer reduced or even free parking on the top deck of the parking garage, so that night shift employees aren't parking on street side spaces. While it may be a couple of blocks further to your destination, cheaper parking might be just the incentive to fill those areas. The Downtown Improvement Board doesn't see it this way, and neither does my opponent.
Convenient and affordable parking is essential to growing our downtown. As your mayor, I pledge to overhaul the current downtown parking fiasco and replace it with a sensible solution that will make us all smile.