What I’m Thinking – April 30

My family likes to experience the cultural scene in Bethlehem. It’s rare for us that we don’t do something out of the house on any weekend. The one consideration that always factors our going out: parking. A situation that all cities must address.

When I go to campus, my parking options are limited. I still park in a surface lot near the buildings where I teach or perform. I’ll admit to using the “adjunct” parking pass on a surface lot to enjoy Southside cultural experiences. I prefer leaving the car in one location and walking around. If I don’t have to worry about a meter expiring, I’m more likely to fully engage in conversation; maybe even linger at a coffee shop or pub a little longer.

When we travel to New York City, Detroit, or Philadelphia, we research parking options. We never opt for meters – because we have intentions of exploring beyond the destination idea. We like options. And customers who like options, tend to enjoy their time in a city more than the errand lifestyle.

Bethlehem Parking Authority has parking garages (north side only) , payment kiosks for some surface lots, and meters. (btw, that link is a good read, if you want to know all the meter holidays. The next one is May 16th for Primary Day) The ParkNow app works well for many. But I’m not a fan of a surcharge for every use. I know in the long run it’s silly, but not having the app option forces me to walk more. That’s a good thing, if we want to promote a more “walkable” city, right?

The meters are also short term, which promotes turn over. This makes sense since the businesses probably don’t want a car parked for eight hours in front of a sandwich shop. The meters operate until 9pm, Monday through Saturday. This doesn’t promote a walkable community. How doesn’t it?

Consider this scenario.
You and your family decide to make a night of it in South Bethlehem. You want to see a show at Godfrey Daniels or Touchstone Theatre. You decide to have dinner at Molly’s before hand. If you park at a meter, and use the app, you can estimate how long you’ll need your car parked. If you need more time, the app will alert your phone that your meter is about to expire.

Except, when you’re at a show, you’re supposed to silence your phone.

I can’t wait for the south side parking garage.

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