Parking meters celebrate their 79th Birthday. But are they worth the hassle?
Caddo Commissioner Matthew Linn believes the city needs to get rid of parking meters in order to bring more people and businesses downtown..
“I think parking meters stop people from coming downtown in a lot of cases. This might collect the city a few nickels and dimes, however if we were actually to increase commerce in the downtown area, the sales tax would be more than what these provide,” said Commissioner Linn.
According to the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority records, the parking meters and tickets brought in $709,700 in 2013. The park cards brought in $20,000 and coins collected from the meters totaled $293,071. The DDA is contracted for $264,000 to manage the meters.
Instead of having the parking meters, Commissioner Linn proposes adding free diagonal parking to all downtown streets and getting rid of the one way streets.
“ I believe the taxpayers already paid for the streets. And if they’ve already paid for the streets, why should they pay for something they’ve already paid for? “
Shreveport Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Liz Swaine agrees with diagonal parking but said free curbside parking isn’t feasible.
“If there were no meters on the street, if all the parking was free, employees who work downtown would park there every day, making it very inconvenient for people who need to come downtown and do business,” said Liz Swaine.
Matthew Linn said that is something that would need to be worked out amongst downtown employers.
Liz Swaine believes adding a few free parking lots near Government Plaza and the Caddo Courthouse would be more efficient.
She also suggests people purchase the $20 park card, so they wouldn’t have to search for spare change to pay the meters. If you encounter a broken meter, she said you can park there but make sure you call the DDA at (318) 222-0290 or (318) 222 -7403 to avoid getting a parking ticket.
The money collected from parking tickets goes into the Parking Enterprise Fund. As far as Liz Swaine knows, it’s just sitting there collecting and could possibly be used to add a third level to one of the parking garages near the El Dorado Casino.