Just as Naperville is about to get more traffic with the opening of the Water Street Development next month, Naperville city officials are considering eliminating 1.5% of it’s downtown parking spaces by reducing on-street parking from 491 spots to 484. Seven fewer parking spots may not seem like many, but when you’re looking for just one spot to park, seven open spots would seem like a bonanza.
Reducing available parking places would be accomplished by eliminating angle parking and converting them to parallel parking on the east side of Main Street between Jackson and Jefferson avenues in addition to the area from Jefferson Street to the Van Buren Avenue parking lot entrance.
The likeliness of this happening is due to city officials’ desire to widen sidewalks to facilitate outdoor restaurant and cafe seating and adding benches making it more enticing for diners, shoppers and pedestrians. That’s all fine and dandy, but before you can dine, shop, and meander through town, you have to find a place to park.
Eliminating seven parking spots may seem insignificant, but consider this, it could reduce sales and revenue by $400,000 or more. Let’s do the math. If you consider a parking spot is desirable about 16 hours per day, and the average spot may rotate every two hours, that’s a conservative eight cars per day per spot X 7 parking spots X 365 days per year with an average conservative loss of $20 in sales and revenue which comes to about $400,000.
(8 cars X 7 parking spots X 365 days per year X $20 (conservative) spent = $408,800 per year lost)
It takes a lot of books being sold and Anderson’s book store, and hot dogs from Joey’s, and chicken wings from Ted’s Montana Grill to put a dent in $40oK+.
Could it be that city officials are getting us ready for metered parking in the not too distant future. Or could it be, that part of the master plan is, eliminating most street parking, requiring the use of parking garages, with the ultimate goal of city officials, to charge for parking in city owned garages exactly like Chicago? How does $20 for the first ten minutes sound, or $50 for anything over that for the day. The Golden Rule would apply. He who has the gold makes the rules; and the city has the gold with ordinances which gives them more gold for more ordinances.
Some could consider the first step of the plan (converting angle parking to parallel) as prejudiced towards younger and older drivers. Younger drivers because learning how to parallel park is no longer mandatory in high school driver’s education, and the State no longer tests for it. Older drivers because it’s not so easy turning your head like an owl to get into and out of parallel parking spots.
Or maybe the real answer is the simplest; the city wants to corner the market on valet parking.