My turn: Not shopping downtown anymore
January 30, 2006
[Editor’s note: This column was originally a letter addressed to the Truckee Town Council, read before the council on Jan. 19 by the author and then submitted to the Sierra Sun.]After sending my comments regarding the paid parking to the Truckee Town Council, the town manager informed me that the meters were “reluctantly” instituted by the town council at the urging of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association. I think the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association has shot itself in the foot. My family, and many of our neighbors and friends, are truly upset by those meters. We have all sworn to not spend one dime in the downtown district until they are removed. This sentiment is growing…We have always made the effort to shop local, recognizing the need for supporting our local economy and supporting our friends and neighbors. We were willing to pay the extra that most of the merchants needed to charge. Knowing these were higher because of location, weather, and size of their businesses. We acknowledge these to be real costs. However, all businesses in the Tahoe area, as well as private homes, have costs associated with snow removal and parking lot maintenance. These costs should be a part of each local business’ expense recovery plan.Regarding limited space availability, this is a problem, but not in my opinion a huge one. During the weekday, when most locals shop downtown, I never have had to go around the block more than once to get a parking space. On the weekends, like most locals, we surrender the town to the tourists, which is fine and part of living in a vacation/tourist destination. Maybe the problem seemed worse to the merchants association because employees and business owners were having the hardest time parking throughout the week. Maybe the merchants association should look to solve just the employee parking (and not by charging them as is currently being done) and see how that goes. Just as the major ski resorts have had to ask their employees to park farther away and be bused in to make room for the skiers so maybe should the merchants Association. Just an idea.The meters are costly to use, costly to maintain, and put folks at risk of vehicle parking violation. They say to all that this is an unwelcoming place. They put a bad feeling into us before we exit our cars. I believe that the Downtown Merchants Association needs to re-assess this decision and look for some other means of solving the parking problems using an invisible way that does not impact their customers and this community so blatantly. What’s next, paid parking at Gateway Center? Sometimes it’s hard to find a parking place there also…Our motto (I’m sorry to say) is “Not a dime will be spent downtown until those meters are removed.”I believe the Downtown Merchants Association and the town council, in trying to solve one problem, has created a bigger one. You have made this community unhappy and disgruntled. This should matter. Please work to have these meters removed.Stacia Knight-Graham is a Truckee resident. “My Turn'”is a guest column open to readers of the Sierra Sun. Send submissions of 500850 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.