In response to the proposed plan to install parking meters in downtown Gainesville, I must express my discontent as a voter and as a downtown business owner.
Charging the public to park downtown will only discourage people from frequenting the businesses. Many of my customers do not spend hours downtown. They park their cars, come into my shop, buy a record and thereby help fuel the local economy, and then leave. Imagine if they had to pay a fee for a few minutes of shopping. Would they still come as frequently? What about people in the bars and restaurants? Can they enjoy meals without worrying about how much time is left on their meters? Also, the meters will prevent people from window shopping and patronizing local businesses while waiting for a table or after a meal.
In a very public effort to increase traffic and activity in downtown Gainesville, it stands to reason that making it more difficult (or discouraging) for people to park is not conducive to achieving that goal and could possibly do the exact opposite - discourage people from frequenting our businesses. Granted, the proposed meters could generate extra money for Gainesville, but quite frankly, it's not a very creative thought. It could potentially have a negative impact on downtown businesses and the local economy seeing that 60 percent of the money spent in local businesses stays in the economy.