There’s something flawed with the town’s concept of fiscal sustainability when it costs $20/day to park at the hospital ( https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/park-and-cry/ ), but free parking must be expanded at town hall at any cost.
At the September 11th meeting Aurora council debated the merits of Report No. IES13-047 outlining an increase of a measly 16 parking spots at town hall.
The project is expected to commence in September and take eight 8 weeks to complete.
If that wasn’t bad enough the total cost is $282,533.94 exceeding what was approved in the 2013 capital budget.
The cost for each spot is around $20,000!
We all know that free parking isn’t free, but when councilor Buck inquired as to the going rate of a parking space the number that came back was $16,000, a lot higher than I expected.
Gordon Barnes, who was awarded this past week for his accomplishments with the Aurora Arboretum, brought the parking issue forward during one of the library square workshops I attended which was covered in this piece in the Auroran: http://www.newspapers-online.com/auroran/?p=2257
Mr. Barnes is featured showing off Donald Shoup’s book "The High Cost of Free Parking" , a great review of that book can be found here: http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/072
Parking is a major issue in town, not just around library square where it is constantly flaunted as a "destination" yet parking is non-existent.
Downtown Aurora also suffers from lack of usable parking and the solution the last council saw was to simply point out where ancillary and completely impractical parking existed as I commented on here: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/god-isnt-dead-he-just-couldnt-find-a-parking-place/
So there is $ to spend for parking at town hall, but none to address the obviously negatively impacting parking issues downtown?
I also find it perplexing that our mayor can support this project at the same time he supports paid parking at Southlake Hospital where he sits as a director stating that maintaining parking comes with a cost, and is also used as a revenue source.
The fact that there is a spot reserved at town hall for the Mayor to park his Jaguar, which now has a price tag of $20,000 is deserving of another WTF?
As Clr. Buck rightly pointed out, it is more than hypocritical that some vocal members of council who supported this also supported forking over $ to Smart Commute. I commented on that here: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/taking-on-water/ , https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/smart-commute-dumb-commuters/ and here: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/apparently-carpooling-cant-be-left-up-to-aurorans/
Like all reports from town staff this one would not be complete without referencing the Strategic Plan, it states:
This project supports the Strategic Plan Goal of Supporting an Exceptional Quality of Life for All.
16 additional parking spaces at town hall provide an exceptional quality of life for all? How?
Mayor Dawe framed the need was primarily to support the Aurora Senior Centre.
As it was pointed out at the library square workshop seniors arriving at the old library building to play bridge often come in their own vehicles. When encouraged to carpool they eschew that option.
Just how does Aurora expect to be taken seriously when at the same time they beat their chest as encouraging environmentally sustainable transit initiatives that they so easily flush almost $300,000 to pave out more spaces for those unwilling to carpool?
Notice the report doesn’t reference any Environmental plan.
Nor does it reference how the project is "innovative" or "sustainable", both key pillars in the almighty Strategic plan.
It’s sad to realize that where other municipalities are moving forward ours may have shifted itself out of reverse, but on issues like these it is stuck in Park.