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Free Downtown Parking Being Revisited

Parking Downtown TIF Free Parking Pay Parking

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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 09:15 PM

The Downtown TIF Board is reviewing free parking and whether it is still necessary to lure people downtown after hours and on weekends.  The Business Press reports below:

 

http://fwbusinesspre...rking-plan.aspx

 

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram now has an article on the issue online:

http://www.star-tele...adlines-default



#2 hannerhan

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:44 AM

Interesting just how different the costs are between the various leases.  $1mm for the 300 spots in the Tower garage sounds pretty expensive compared with the City Center lease...  And while I have used CC garages countless times on nights and weekends, I have never used that Tower garage.  You'd think it would be pretty easy to have someone track the utilization and put pen to paper to determine what's worth keeping if anything.

 

For the record, I agree with Johnny.  Downtown needs to keep the perception of free parking on nights and weekends (even if they did drop a couple of garages from the TIF). 



#3 Big Frog II

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:45 AM

Take out the free parking and the downtown businesses will suffer big time.



#4 Doohickie

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 01:35 PM

Not if the businesses validate parking garage tickets.


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#5 Fort Worthology

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:19 PM

Free parking has a lot of negative side effects people tend not to think about.  http://www.uctc.net/papers/351.pdf

 

I'd love to see it go away.



#6 JBB

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:44 PM

 

Not if the businesses validate parking garage tickets.


That's not going to make it free. The cost is going to be picked up somewhere, probably by the business and in turn the customer.

If growth continues on a positive inclination, there's going to be a time when free downtown parking is no longer going to make sense and it's time to start weening the garage owners off of the huge lease payments. If we're sitting here 10 or 20 years from now and still implying that downtown businesses can't survive without being propped up by free parking, we have bigger problems.

#7 youngalum

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 11:33 AM

I love to go downtown on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  I do it b/c there is free parking and places to go.  Without the free parking, I will go to other places that don't charge for parking.  Simple as that.  I would never pay $7-$10 for the right to park in a garage on a weekend afternoon.



#8 McHand

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 03:46 PM

Free parking has a lot of negative side effects people tend not to think about.  http://www.uctc.net/papers/351.pdf

 

I'd love to see it go away.

 

 

That is a pretty long read for someone who's surfing the forum..

 

How 'bout some highlights next time?

 

Allow me....

 

 

ABSTRACT

Urban planners typically set minimum parking
requirements to meet the peak demand for
parking at each land use, without considering
either the price motorists pay for parking or the
cost of providing the required parking spaces.
By reducing the market price of parking,
minimum parking requirement provide
subsidies that inflate parking demand, and this
inflated demand is then wed to set minimum
parking requirements. When considered as an
impact fee, minimum parking requirement
can increase development costs by more than
10 times the impact fees for other public
purposes combined. Eliminating minimum
parking requirements would reduce the cost of
urban development° improve urban design,
reduce automobile dependency, and restrain
urban sprawl.
 

 

(Emphasis mine)

 

So it's not the free parking per se, it's the minimum requirement that is the real catalyst.

 

By the way, with a lack of transit to downtown that makes sense, this library patron especially appreciates the free parking.


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#9 Austin55

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 03:57 PM

I don't think downtown has the critical mass of urban residents or proper transit to support  not having free parking just yet. 



#10 McHand

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 04:00 PM

Someone should build an offsite surface lot with subway access to downtown.


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#11 John T Roberts

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:20 PM

Youngalum, I will admit I don't want to go downtown to pay for parking on the weekends in the garages.  If they start charging for the garage parking, I will park on the street because I'm pretty sure that will remain free longer than the garages will.  I certainly don't mind walking a greater distance for a free parking space on the weekends.  I also have other options, I could ride the bus, ride my bike, or walk from the house.  If I'm down there taking pictures, I that rules out going by bicycle.



#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 01:11 PM

The Downtown TIF Board voted to approve short term extensions to two of the parking leases.  The Business Press explains the extensions; however, the article seems to indicate that the TIF is in its final 10 years, and after it expires, we will have to pay for parking on nights and weekends.



#13 Volare

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 08:31 AM

With the amount the TIF has paid other entities for the temporary "free" parking, they could have built their own parking garage and made it "free" forever.



#14 dangr.dave

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 06:12 PM

The garages already exist and would otherwise just sit empty after regular hours.  That should put the city in the position of power.  Anything in terms of revenue is better than nothing...as long as the revenue is equal to or greater than the cost of security and upkeep.  I personally think the city could negotiate better terms.



#15 John T Roberts

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 08:16 PM

Leases are expiring and the TIF would rather use their money directly for development instead of leasing the parking garages so the visitors can park free.  Here's more from the Business Press.  http://fwbusinesspre...ee-parking.aspx



#16 Austin55

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 11:09 PM

This article turning around my thoughts quick, they defiantly need to shrink the leases. 43 million out of 70 total? Way to much just to provide parking. Use those funds to build better connections with the residents around downtown. Time to shrink these leases, perhaps a few buildings looking for places (like the SInclair) could take them over and better use the space. 

 

I'd be ok just subsidizing the City Center South and 777 Main ones, cutting out all the rest. See what happens to business, 



#17 John T Roberts

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 05:02 PM

I will admit that I am frugal, and if the garages start parking at nights and weekends, I won't be parking in them.  I will park on the streets, assuming that street parking will still be free at nights and on the weekends. 



#18 Volare

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 02:02 PM

And if they make it all paid parking downtown?

 

Remember when it was free to park anywhere in the cultural district? Then they started the parking lot wars there. What has happened to musem attendance? (Hint- down all around)



#19 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 03:15 PM

If they make it all paid parking downtown, then you will see a lot less downtown updates and photographs from me on this site.  I will probably ride my bicycle down there on the weekends, but I don't take my good camera with me when I'm riding. 

 

The last time I went into downtown Dallas, I had to pay for parking on a Sunday and I thought that Sunday parking was free.  It was not, and of course, I fed the meter because I had driven all that way into downtown Dallas from Fort Worth.  The rates on Sunday were the same for a weekday. 

 

I will admit that since the economy downturn in 2008, I have become "cheap".  One of my cycling buddies calls me the "cheapest person he knows".  Here's the reason.  I took two pay cuts (I am back to full pay), and I have not had a raise since before then.  My cycling buddy retired in 2011 with yearly income more than I make in a year.



#20 Not Sure

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 05:35 PM

Sorry, but my visits will certainly be fewer if I must pay to park. Free parking is a big part of what made downtown a destination after the workday and on the weekend. I certainly preferred the free garages in Fort Worth over the seedy dark lots in Dallas with "attendants" who looked like they'd be rifling through your belongings minutes after you parked. I have more money now than years ago when I made the switch from hanging out in Dallas to hanging out closer to home in Fort Worth, but I'd rather spend it having a good time than parking.



#21 Fort Worthology

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 10:05 AM

If downtown can't survive without free parking propping it up, it's a lot less healthy than we think it is.  Perhaps we ought to be thinking less about subsidizing the storage of private automobiles downtown and more about making it easier to get around without them.

 

Downtown Dallas is on the upswing, without free parking.



#22 Jeriat

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 10:19 AM

There are cities with better downtown areas than ours (I love our city, but get real, we still have plenty of work to do in downtown) and they seem to get by just fine WITHOUT free parking. So there really shouldn't be an excuse, right? 

 

If it's really worth being there then there shouldn't be any complaining about paying a few bucks to park. Texas de Brazil is seen as a top tier restaurant, which is why it ain't cheap.


7fwPZnE.png

 

8643298391_d47584a085_b.jpg


#23 Now in Denton

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 05:32 PM

All I know as a kid and as a teenager. Monnings was busy. The Tandy Center was always busy year round.  I saw it lived it .And it had free parking.  In contrast. Would free parking help Victory in Dallas when it first opened ? No not at all. Most stores even had free rent for a year ! Bad development and overprices stores did. Come on who is going to  a Mavs game. Buy $200 jeans. And open a bottle of wine ?

 

It boils down to you better have something for people to come too. And be worth the trip. And be on the ready for American's ever changing shopping and entertainment habits. As I said on another post. Fort Worth needs to add some roof top public places. Not just one or two. And not just a Reunion Tower Type building. But a Seattle needle in Fort Worth be a great start. Especially if TRV is a reality.



#24 eastfwther

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 05:23 AM

I admit that I haven't paid much attention to this because I really don't go downtown much anymore. But if the parking to private garages and parking lots is subsidized, then it needs to go.  I heard that the Basses very own parking garages get tax dollars for offering free parking.  Is this true?  If it is, that's ridiculous.  That's like Hulen mall getting tax money to offer free parking to people shopping in their mall.  And if the parking garage owners are so pro-downtown, can't they just offer their parking free with no subsidies?  As someone else pointed out, other downtowns are making it without free parking..downtown Dallas is doing a complete turnaround ...so why can't downtown Fort Worth survive without free parking? (Well the parking was never really FREE. At least not for Fort Worth taxpayers)



#25 Russ Graham

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 06:50 AM

Well the parking was never really FREE. At least not for Fort Worth taxpayers

 

Sums up the whole thread.



#26 RD Milhollin

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 09:40 AM

Perhaps the public needs to be weaned off of the "free parking" mindset. Why not offer One Dollar parking for a couple of years and then raise it to Two. This would help the TIF money go further into other projects they would like to take on, and would help the downtown visitors adjust gradually to the idea of parking fees. A dramatic change from "free" to "market" overnight would no doubt have a shock effect on spending downtown; this sort of gradual change would be much more palatable to the price-sensitive market segment. If any garages were to be dropped from the subsidy program, or receive a lesser subsidy amount, it should be those owned by the Bass interests, as they are in effect "double-dipping" since they own the properties that benefit most.

 

The money removed from the parking subsidy program should be directed toward alternate transportation options such as a starter downtown streetcar system...



#27 Volare

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 12:44 PM

It's all coming full circle...

 

http://bikefriendlyo...arking-garages/



#28 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 03:29 PM

The next meeting has been canceled.

 

http://fwbusinesspre...gotiations.aspx



#29 RD Milhollin

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 11:12 AM

New arrangements with more favorable (to the DTFWTIF) have been reached with the owners of downtown parking garages, so free parking will continue for the near future. 

 

http://www.star-tele...-free.html?rh=1

 

I wonder if Bass Hall patrons are as sensitive to price changes in downtown parking as other groups, like shoppers, pub crawlers, diners, casual strollers, forum photographers, or families with kids who like to splash in water fountains (oops, scratch that last group). I suppose that subsidizing parking behind the performance hall is a form of subsidy for the performing arts, which DOES contribute to the overall health and vitality of the area. Many of those attendees are also most likely within the prime target demographic for some of the high-end restaurants and shops Sundance Inc. works to attract. Instead of free parking, parking with amenities (valet, close-by, extra-wide spaces, covered/climate controlled walkways, etc.) might be even more appealing than free to this group. 



#30 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 11:55 AM

I'm glad that it will continue in the near future, but I'm quite confident that eventually all of the garages will charge for evenings and weekends.  I'm just hoping that the street parking will remain free after hours.



#31 John T Roberts

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 10:30 AM

The free parking will continue at the Sundance Square Garages and the one for 777 Main until 2025, according to the Business Press.  However, I did notice one thing in the article.  Currently, the parking is free after 5:00 PM, the article states that the parking is free from 6:00 PM until 3:00 AM.  It looks as if the hours are being slightly reduced to capture some new parking fees.  Below is a link to the article:

 

http://fwbusinesspre...wn-garages.aspx



#32 mmiller2002

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 11:53 AM

What happens if you go park there at 4pm, then leave at 11pm?



#33 John T Roberts

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 12:00 PM

Lately, on weekdays, they have been manning the parking booths until after I have left.  Therefore, I would assume that under the current parking regulations, someone would go to the booth and pay for the parking between 4 PM and 5 PM.  Then, the rest would be at no charge.



#34 JBB

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 12:27 PM

At some point in time, I can remember parking in the City Center garage before 5:00 and leaving several hours later and not paying at all because the booth was not manned. I know on my last trip downtown for dinner, I parked in the Chase garage and it was manned well after 10:00.

#35 John T Roberts

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 12:39 PM

I have exited the garages at various times on the weekdays, myself.  A couple of those times was between 10 and 11, and there was someone in the booth.  I also parked at both the Chase (3rd Street Garage) and the City Center Garage 2. 

 

I also have a clarification on my earlier statement.  The hours on the parking leases have not changed. They always started at 6:00 PM, but some property owners have been generous enough to allow the free parking after 5 instead of 6. 



#36 gdvanc

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 10:19 AM

Do these garages and lots typically accept plastic or are they cash only? I've never minded the expense of parking, but don't always have folding money in my pocket. I assume they do but haven't had to pay to park in a garage in a while.

 

It would be nice if they could somehow integrate with TxTag.



#37 Fort Worthology

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 12:47 PM

Street parking accepts cards now, so I'd be surprised if the garages don't.



#38 McHand

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:49 PM

They do accept cards when someone is working the booth.  


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#39 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:40 PM

I moved the three posts regarding West 7th parking over to the West 7th Development thread.



#40 John T Roberts

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 07:42 PM

The parking garage owner for The Tower is seeking a lease extension for their free parking.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an article on the lease extension and what could be signaling an end to free parking in Downtown.  The story is by Sandra Baker.

 

http://www.star-tele...e118570973.html



#41 BlueMound

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:10 PM

Does the article contain a numerical error ?

'The lease paid about $950,000 annually ....'

Should that be just $95,000 not $950,000 ?

#42 John T Roberts

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 04:00 PM

The Tower Garage still in dispute with TIF over the parking.  Below is a link to the Fort Worth Business article:

 

http://www.fortworth...946046e1e7.html



#43 renamerusk

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:08 AM

Because our elected officials like to talk about transportation alternatives..... to park at, we close down the closest best way to get there!.... and tell me this has anything at all to do with horses. This is about revenue.

 

 

The Tower Garage still in dispute with TIF over the parking....

 

 One can be cynical and see these two controversies as yet another play by those exercising pull.  Streetcars v. downtown parking TIF and bicycles v. Cultural District Garage. 



#44 gdvanc

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 09:03 AM

Oh, renamerusk, I fought cynicism for so long. End the end, though, I've found its proper use makes me much better at predicting the actions of those with power and influence.



#45 BlueMound

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:20 PM

Free parking should not give anyone a competitive edge
Op-ed
http://www.star-tele...e130678899.html

#46 Austin55

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:14 PM

FW Weekly with another story on this.

 

https://www.fwweekly...ng-subsi-dies/#



#47 RD Milhollin

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:35 AM

The S-T's Bud Kennedy weighs in on the "Free Parking" question with "Fort Worth's Romance with Free Parking and Why It's Headed for a Messy Breakup"

 

http://www.star-telegram.com/living/article172092357.html 

 

He covers the old Leonard's Subway, Sundance Square and public subsidization, Will Rogers area Western Heritage Garage, West 7th / Crockett Row, The Dash, The "4-block rule", parking meters, Stockyards Disneyfication, city zoning requirements, driverless cars and possible consequences for parking

 

... and even hovercrafts and sacred cows!

 

This is necessarily a generalized review and overview, and does not attempt to go into any serious social or economic policy evaluations of the issue; and I am pretty sure all of the aspects he covers have been covered to a greater extent here on the Forum, but it might help the uninitiated citizen to better understand what the reasons might be when the can't find a free space or have to pay for a close one. As regards the title; I read the article twice and really can't see where he covered why a "messy breakup" is on the way... it seems to be an ongoing long-term relationship in Sundance Square!







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