Publisher's Note: Just say no
By Jody Reese
Concord is set to emulate Manchester’s parking model — not a good idea.
Concord’s city council voted Monday, May 10, to raise rates and install parking kiosks downtown. For those who haven’t been to downtown Manchester in a while: parking here now requires a little running around. You need to find a kiosk, then you walk to it and get it to print your stub (takes about 30 seconds, a long time when it’s raining), then go back to your car and put the stub on the dash.
While I personally hate the kiosks and the extra running around, I like that they take credit cards so I don’t have to dig for change (and I get fewer tickets). However, on the whole these machines haven’t proved popular with business owners or customers. Manchester has a great selection of nighttime spots, but its daytime retail establishments are few and far between, and the city’s parking rules haven’t helped.
Concord doesn’t have a big nighttime scene to replace the retail that would be harmed by this plan. Retail parkers are never going to park in the parking garage; they want to be in and out of their destination quickly. Adding a 10-minute hike just to get out of the garage (with its own crazy kiosk) will drive them elsewhere (like to a strip mall with free parking). Parking is not supposed to be a revenue-raiser. If you’re lucky, it breaks even. The goal of a good parking program is to keep parking spots turning over so new customers can park.