Meter deal is a bad idea

September 18, 2010

I read with interest [Cory Schouten’s] article in the Aug. 30 IBJ, “City vendor may get $1.2B,” detailing aspects of the city’s proposed deal to privatize the city’s parking meters.

I saw that you quoted Aaron Renn on the matter. I have read with interest many of Renn’s posts on urban planning and development, as he is a truly thoughtful commentator on such issues. I am not sure if you saw Renn’s additional blog posts on the subject of the parking meter deal [at www.urbanophile.com].

In his posts, Renn details a number of extremely troubling aspects of the deal, which make it hard for me as a downtown resident, taxpayer and worker, to understand how the administration could’ve allowed itself to ink such a deal. I find particularly troubling the provisions of the contract that make it potentially much more expensive—and thus less likely—for the city or developers to undertake downtown projects.

Given the enormous changes to our downtown over the past 50 years, it is difficult to understand why the administration would consider imposing higher costs on downtown development for the next 50 years (the term of the proposed contract). I am hopeful that the City-County Council will, upon reflection and the light of day, reject the deal when it comes to a vote. There are other, less onerous ways to achieve the laudable goal of upgrading our parking meter infrastructure.

Given the extremely troubling terms of the deal, I thought I’d let you know that I appreciated your article and hope that you follow up with additional reports.


David Suess

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