Monday, March 14, 2005

Park(ing) Place

It's not the sexiest topic in Anne Arundel County, but parking in Annapolis seems to be an issue that never really goes away. Mayor Ellen Moyer announced recently that she intends to take some smart steps to start addressing parking problems in Annapolis and begin to try in earnest to get a satellite parking system underway.

Foremost among the parking bill being introduced tonight is an increase in parking fees $.25 per hour at the city garages and $.50 per hour at the downtown meters. As a frequent patron of Annapolis restaurants and businesses, I admit to being a bit misty-eyed about losing the ability to park downtown 2 hours for $1. But, I've honestly felt all along that the rates were too low. Simple economics suggests that the more convenient the parking spot, the more expensive parking should be, and for years, parking in Annapolis has violated that basic axiom.

The Mayor would like to see the $1.5 million raised from fee increases put towards a reliable, and timely downtown shuttle service from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. A wise idea, and one that will hopefully lessen congestion downtown. Mayor Moyer deserves much credit for tackling this issue head on, where several of her predecessors were content to allow the situation to worsen without taking action.

For the most part, the Mayor is offering much needed changes. In addition to these, however, it would be great to see Annapolis host more streetscape events, like the music festival on West Street last fall, where the city closes downtown thoroughfares to cars, and gives them over to pedestrians. Annapolis is definitely a town best enjoyed on foot.



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