Parking in Placerville -- Words by Wendy

by Placerville Newswire / Aug 06, 2017 / comments

[Wendy Thomas]

PARKING in Downtown Placerville…It’s a new system with increased hours and cost, and it is sparking heated debate and angry concern among merchants and the community.

We acknowledge there are challenges.  We’d like you to know we’re working on them.

Staff will provide the City Council with an update on the Parking Program on Tuesday, August 8th although we are fully aware of the conversation and concerns of the community. In addition, the Parking Committee has been interfacing with Staff on this issue and they will be working with the merchant community to fully understand the problems while they collaborate on potential solutions. I have no doubt that we are in a period of transition and that the current parking program can be tweaked successfully.  We can figure this out!

As I have been challenged to think critically about this issue, here are some ideas I’ve found helpful:

ACCEPT “WHAT IS”.  We have a new parking program. It’s totally different. People are confused about it. There are problems with it. There are also critically important reasons for some of the changes. The task before us is to acknowledge all of this, without extreme emotion, so we can employ rational thought to the challenge.  We can’t go back to where we were, so the next step is to accept “what is” at this moment in time so we can move forward productively.

Then what?

OBSERVE AND DECIDE.  (I think we’re right in the middle of this course of action.)  We are observing how the current Parking Program is working and are understanding what the exact problems are that need to be addressed.  I also found it helpful to realize that just because a program isn’t perfect right off the bat doesn’t mean it should be immediately discarded. Life is full of trial and error. Action and redirection. It’s kind of like parenting. No one does it perfectly from the get-go. You make mistakes. You try something new, see how that works. You get better as you go. It’s as simple as that. As for parking, we’ll talk to each other and understand what exactly isn’t working for the customer, the merchant, the employee, the taxpayer, and then we’ll decide on potential solutions.

EMBRACE CHANGE.  (This is an area we tend to struggle with as a community). It is important to understand we had to change the old parking program. Did you know that the old meters were broken?  Did you know they were so old that parts were not available and that the company was no longer servicing them? Did you know that the $1 per hour fee for parking had stayed the same for over 10 years? Did you know that the old Parking Program wasn’t paying for itself and that NO money was being set aside for the repair and maintenance of our parking garage and parking lots? We had to make a change…it would have been irresponsible not too.

So here we are.

The Parking Program has some challenges. What initial effort doesn’t? We don’t need to be completely undone by this fact. Our response doesn’t have to be a knee jerk reaction like “I’m never shopping in Placerville again!”.  We can make productive changes to the Parking Program which ensure that our customers have adequate parking, that our merchants and the taxpayers are not unduly burdened, and that we have the resources we need to maintain our parking facilities.

My goodness, if we can tame the Wild West, we can tweak our parking program!

I’ll see you on Main Street. Wendy.