Your Feb. 28 editorial on “Free parking” was misguided. The most important things I learned while serving on the Downtown Raleigh Parking Task Force were that users should always pay their parking costs and that free parking encourages abuse. For these reasons alone, businesses should not be burdened with paying after-hours parking costs.
Many businesses receive little or no benefit from after-hours parking, which means a business-paid parking scheme is ill-conceived and unjustified. It must be viewed simply as another tax.
Charging such fees on businesses that close at 6 p.m. makes no sense. How do we distinguish between businesses that close at 9 p.m. and those that stay open past midnight?
Customers, not businesses, must be the ones making a cost versus benefits conclusion and paying the cost if they choose to park after-hours in a deck. Any business that chooses to cover customer after-hours parking cost can issue vouchers.
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Downtown businesses are already burdened with a much higher customer and tenant parking cost compared with the suburbs, and adding an after-hours parking fee would make this worse.
We also could see more respect for public property and perhaps less abuse when the user pays. After all, bad behavior is not discouraged if others pick up the tab for misdeeds.
Owner, Capital Bank Plaza