If you're in the market for parking meters (slightly used), you may soon find them on eBay, Craigslist or wherever unwanted parking meters are sold.
Yes, the Santa Rosa City Council is scrapping its latest misadventure in parking. Many of the slick, new pay stations, rolled out with so much enthusiasm four years ago, will be sent to that great parking meter auction in the sky.
Customers never liked them (and the customer is always right). Thus, the merchants who recommended them soon changed their minds, as well.
Also, parking tags to be placed on the dashboard became a hassle for Mayor Scott Bartley whenever the top was down on his vintage Mercedes. (Even if he was kidding, I'm betting Hizzoner wishes he'd kept it to himself.)
Let us take a moment here to regret that city officials and the merchants who wanted these new pay stations didn't discover their disutility before the money was spent.
The 30 kiosks to be jettisoned immediately cost the city $214,500. Their replacements, 215 single-space meters, will cost $172,000. The new meters also cost more to maintain and operate than the old ones — which likely means that parking fees will be increased to pay for them.
City officials insist some of the stations will be re-used, but you can only put so much lipstick on this thing. It is what it is — a mistake.
Meanwhile, Councilman Jake Ours suggested parking fees may also be raised for downtown maintenance costs.
Welcome to downtown!
Mistakes happen, and parking is like baseball. Everyone's an expert.
What works in one town won't necessarily work in another. People who complain about not being able to park 30 feet from their favorite store in downtown Santa Rosa don't give it a second thought if they have to walk three blocks to their favorite store in San Francisco.
A year from now, we can be sure that someone won't like these new parking meters either.
Still, Santa Rosa City Hall has shown an unfortunate propensity for missteps when it comes to downtown parking. Over the years, the litany of common complaints include overzealous enforcement, high fees and costly fines, parking meters that don't work, dark and dingy garages and yes, inconvenient pay stations.