Indianapolis’ disastrous downtown parking meter deal

This has been a hot topic on facebook and with local blogs for the last couple weeks or so. Mayor Ballard had come up with a deal to privatize parking meters downtown and in the Broadripple Area that basically gives away the baby with the bathwater. The deal is a 50-year contract with a private company to install and maintain the meters, and they will reap the profits from said meters over that time. Prices on the meters will go up. Free nights and weekends will go away – you’ll pay at the meter from 7 am to 9 pm. Residents in Broad Ripple will be required to buy parking permits to park in front of their homes.

Basically the deal is done but will require the city-county council to approve. That has suddenly become more difficult due to some analysis by urban planning guru Aaron Renn of Urbanophile, who looked closely at the details of the deal and wrote two articles, one about how the deal is bad public policy: Parking Meters and the Perils of Privatization

And the other is how this particular deal sucks so bad:

Indy’s “Son of Chicago” Parking Meter Lease to Be a Disaster for City
Lots more detail in both those articles on how everything shakes out. Post the articles which have been circulating widely among policial wonks, many more people have contacted the city-county council to complain about the deal, and they were forced to postpone a discussion in the Rules Committee about it in order to address some of the complains with a response. Downtown businesses are starting to realize how deleterious the affects will be on their business, according to the Indiana Business Journal.

There will apparently be a hearing on September 20th after the regular city-county council meeting.
The city’s “response” to Urbanophile’s articles, which doesn’t offer any arguments of substance and mostly picks nits about the level of detail Aaron got into in his articles, is here:

PDF download – Parking Meter Modernization Will Improve Infrastructure and Spur Economic Activity

Thankfully, Aaron Renn assessed the response and picked that mother apart as well:
Indianapolis Parking Meters – The City’s Response

Contact information for the City-County Council, should you be interested in registering your opinion.

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