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Extended parking limits in the Central Business District Plazas

From: domainremoved <Richard>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 16:22:51 -0700

Dear Honorable Mayor and Council Members,

The vote to extend parking limits Tuesday evening effectively changed the
parking downtown parking plazas to long term parking for employees. The
ultimate outcome is that customers will be displaced in the parking plazas
by employees who will now park there. Obviously, this change makes it a
much simpler proposition for employees to park long term and simply move
their cars. Indeed, the comment made by the Trader Joe's team leader
exclaimed that this change would facilitate greater usage by employees.

I don't know if there are any options to revisit this matter, but I
sincerely hope that there is. Plaza 4's 2 hour change to 3 hours will
reduce turnover by 25% since the 2 hour parking represent 50% of the total
parking available. This is the highest used parking plaza with turnover to
be reduced by 25%, truly a mistake. The other plazas will experience 50%
turnover reductions. For a merchant to disenfranchise a customer in lieu of
an employee, just does not make logical sense since our customers are the
ones that fund our viability.

Draeger's customers, mostly female housewives and many with kids in tow,
simply cannot successfully conduct the transporting of an 80 to 120 lb.
shopping cart loaded with groceries beyond a reasonably short distance.
Merchants and most other retailers should be encouraging their employees to
park in the periphery (as we do) and not park where their customers have a
real necessity to park. This is retail “common sense”.

I met with your parking director and toured our parking plaza, but my views
were obviously dismissed as evidenced by the staff report. This decision
will severely damage our business and force customers to choose more
convenient alternatives such as Safeway where parking turnover is managed
by themselves.

Historically, these parking plazas were purchased by the downtown business
owners through a parking assessment district to create *customer* parking.
Look at the agreement. Over time, due to the success of the downtown,
residents complained about employees parking in the neighborhoods and
parking permits were issued. These parking permits, of course, displaced

When we suffered the 2008 downturn, the Central Business District (CBD) was
a disaster with rents on Santa Cruz Ave. completely out of line with
potential profitability. The result of parking policy decisions that have
left less and less parking for customers became very apparent during the
economic collapse which affected the downtown merchants to an abnormal
degree and length of time. The downtown’s failure to recover with the
surrounding area was perplexing to City leaders unless viewed in the
context of customer-adverse parking policies. Tuesday's decision further
aggravates this matter. The downtown merchants will suffer further as
parking is made more convenient for employees at the expense of customers.

I would really like to be able to sit down with anybody on the Council who
would like to expand available customer parking. This vote absolutely heads
the Downtown in the wrong direction for our customers.

By the way, Tuesday evening's vote is a grandiose gesture for residents who
neighbor the downtown and don't like to have employees parked in the
neighborhood. The unfortunate consequence will be that as customers find it
increasingly impossible to find parking due to reduced turnover, merchant
revenues will decline, and continuing employment of workers by downtown
businesses will be unsustainable. Sales tax revenues generated in the CBD
will continue to decline. Finally, the retail businesses themselves will
have to succumb, leaving only offices and restaurants.

Please let me know if there is anything that is still possible to change
this. Experiments, in my experience, are a politically expedient method of
avoiding the word "permanent".

Respectfully yours,

Richard A. Draeger
Received on Thu Oct 22 2015 - 16:24:20 PDT

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