By Daniel Urazandi
Some local businesspersons and concerned citizens have drafted and filed an initiative that does what should have been done long ago-- sets a baseline for parking downtown that expands both bike and auto parking, and bans parking meters throughout Davis. Once 4,200 Davisites sign the petition the initiative will go on the ballot and we can vote on it ourselves. Council has already voted several times, each time choosing to erode and restrict parking while charging for it. We are certain the vast majority of folks want the opposite—free parking and more spaces—so that is exactly what our initiative provides.
The Freedom To Park initiative is the result of citizen frustration at the city's total refusal of common sense and democracy and gross mismanagement of downtown parking. While everyone is grousing about a parking shortage, the city has spent the last 20 years removing over 100 spaces for bulb-outs, expanded restaurant seating, E St plaza, bicycle parking in the street, etc. At the same time they use the frustration at the shortage they caused to advance their insane “solution”—installing parking meters throughout downtown. They spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars hiring consultants to parrot back the city's claim that taxing parking will be good for downtown while trying to ignore the almost universal consensus of businesspeople and customers downtown who say the opposite. Council acknowledged that 80% of the town was against paid parking but they voted to install meters anyway. So they won't listen to the businesses most affected or to the majority they are supposed to represent and they insist on advancing the failed model that only they profit from at great cost to us all.
Mired in this political nightmare, several of us rightly thought we could do better. So we came up with the obvious plan that anyone actually trying to manage a scarce and valuable resource would use—set a baseline so there is no more erosion of parking, return/offset the missing spaces and maximize existing space, then get rid of the paid parking threat so that the city won't stand to profit from intentionally mismanaging parking in the future. That's what the initiative does. It's a common sense solution that reverses city hall's incompetence. The city wants less parking at higher costs. We want free parking and more spaces.
The extra spaces can be created on existing streets with no extra lots or structures. Look around the Farmer's Market to see maximum efficiency of parking then compare that to the blocks in front of the movie theaters, for example. And should a new structure need be built, the initiative allows for paid parking within that structure to pay for itself. To sign the petition meet us at Farmer's Market, download one at freedomtopark.org or visit these businesses that have petitions on hand:
Akasha Yoga 140 F st
Avid Reader 617 2nd st
A Better Place To Bead 132 E st
Bizarro World 223 E st
Boheme 409 3rd st
Creme de la Creme 222 D st
Crucial Vibes 204 E st
Hastings Back Porch 132 E st
John Natsoulas Gallery 521 1st st
Kaya Yoga 612 4th st
Kobe Mini Mart 213 E st
Luci's Salon 222 D st #9a
Shu Shu's 227 E st
Vault Clothing & Board Shop 227 G st
Yeti Mini Mart 232 E st
Volley's Tennis Shop 231 G st