Is parking keeping business away from downtown St. Paul?

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The parking directives on signs in downtown St. Paul seem to often scream, “go away,” and today a group of business interests called on the city to lighten up on the enforcement.

The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce said a recent survey of business owners and customers said parking enforcement is “overly aggressive,” the signs are confusing, and the maximum time allowed at meters is too short.

“We have to stop pretending we have a rush hour out of downtown St. Paul,” City Council member Dave Thune said, referring to signs (like the one above) that even prevents people from stopping, let alone park.

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Brian Horst (above), who runs Details Salon on the Lowry Building said he often pays the parking tickets of customers, but fears many people don’t bother trying to park.

Susan Kimberly (left, above), the interim director of the Chamber, said the group wants the time limit on parking meters extended to 90 minutes, and free parking at meters if they’re broken. Thune indicated the city is considering computerized parking meters that will accept credit cards. They might be paid for with the money generated by fines on parking scofflaws, he said.

(Take the parking survey from the Capitol River Council.)

  • Andy G.

    Seems to be a “chicken-and-egg” thing to me. I’m certainly not going to risk a parking ticket to go the coin collector’s shop on Cedar; or to buy a pack of smokes at the market on 5th Street.

    I can understand that the (little) retail in the heart of Downtown may be hurt by these parking rules, but is it really keeping people away? Or are those people not coming in the first place? Personally, I’d like to see the chamber perhaps work on nipping that 20%+ office vacancy rate in the bud.

  • Al

    \\Is parking keeping business away from downtown St. Paul?

    Yeah, that’s gotta be it.

  • John O.

    Before the City of St. Paul starts replacing old signs with new ones, etc., why doesn’t someone actually examine the number of downtown workers that occupy parking meter spaces with their handicap permits.

    All day. Every day.

    Toss in the collection of vehicles with “Official Business” permits from the City on their dashboard, and you maybe have a dozen parking spaces left in downtown St. Paul.

  • Mary Smith

    The rideshare parking is a joke most people ride by themselves but

    still have another name on the Rideshare when they apply. Every day I see just one person in a car and they use the free rideshare.

    I work downtown and pay for my parking. Why should all these people get free parking by cheating the system.