Parking Meters

Parking meters are a necessity uptown, since without them shoppers would be crowded out by commuters using the nearby train.

But there is a fine line between limiting the time one can park to avoid spaces being tied up all day and making parking so expensive shoppers go somewhere else.

This neighborhood shopping center is in Chicago where parking meters have become a bit of an issue due to price increases and ‘privatization.’

Now parking is still not very expensive, but it is 4 times more expensive than it was. It is no longer about making parking available for shoppers, but about raising revenue for the city.

That makes folks think about shopping elsewhere.

That hurts the stores along this street.

That moves business out of the city one hour at a time.

Small business can often be blindsided by regulations and costs their customers and they have no control over. The parking is not a fortune, only a $1 an hour.

So, next steps? Do you market against the issue or just ignore it and tough it out?

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6 Responses to Parking Meters

  1. Andrew says:


    They may not represent a particualy large cost, higher parking rates do serve to discourage shoppers and I would certainly imagine that nearby traders would not be amused by this situation in any way.

    I can’t say for certain whether or not any form of action would be worth the cost, especially in terms of time and effort involved. Nevertheless, I would have thought that those who do wish to take action would be well advised to talk to other traders so that they can present a united (and therefore more powerful) front with respect to this issue.

    Andrew’s last blog post..Will good intentions wither in tough times?

  2. J.D. Meier says:

    It’s a great reminder that location, location, location is so true.

    It includes convenience and distractions such as parking meters. The reality is, if people have to work too hard, eventually friction gets in the way, and they find simpler places to spend their time. I’ve seen various places go out of business because of how parking was handled.

    J.D. Meier’s last blog post..How To Design A Fulfilling Life

  3. I wonder if there’s a way for the local merchants to make the issue into a sort of spectacle…”quarters for the meters sales” and the like. Free Parking Days. I think I’d put the issue front in center while also bringing it to the local government. It’s amazing how the slightest hurdle can push a consumer elsewhere.

    Richard Reeve’s last blog post..…Opposition

  4. Hi Andrew, Banding together can be a powerful way for a neighborhood shopping center to strengthen its identity and connection with the local community. I know there used to be a local group but haven’t seen anything as of late. I’m going to have to ask if they still have an active neighborhood association.

  5. Location sure does matter. It’s been hard for this shopping area to hold onto it’s identity as bigger box stores have moved nearby. Now they have to face the parking issue. I know that the general economy has probably been a bigger problem than this, but there are several empty storefronts that had been occupied six months ago.

  6. I think that ‘quarters for the meters’ could be a lot of fun for the merchants. Kind of create a common bond with their customers and remind them why their more local, more independent (and more quirky) offerings are worth stopping for. This is a neighborhood surrounded by large shopping centers with free parking and so ignoring the issue seems dangerous.

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