At a recent public meeting on the then-proposed new parking system for downtown, representatives from the company that sells the new kiosks were on hand to explain how the technology will work.
They’re not particularly hard to use, but the fact that they needed to be explained at all represents one of at least three psychological hurdles that the City and downtown businesses will need to overcome.
In these modern times, we have been expected to learn to do many things that in the past were either simpler or done for us by other people.
For example, we’ve had to learn how to pay at the pump, check out our purchases at stores, use machines to get through customs at the airport. None of these is by itself a steep learning curve, but they can all add up to increased frustration.
Isn’t technology supposed to make our lives easier?
And speaking of technology, we all know how fast it becomes obsolete. The shiny new smartphone we’re so proud of today will pale in comparison to what’s coming two years down the road.
Many of us have the same queasy feeling about the new parking kiosks. They’re going to be paid for over a period of five years — but that’s ages in technological terms. Will we wind up having to sink money into upgrades every few years?
So that’s hurdle No. 2.
Add to it the fact that these kiosks will be charging double what the current meters do, and we have the third hurdle. If you’re parking for two hours and have to pay $2 instead of $1, it’s not a huge difference.
Still — it’s twice as much and that’s not sitting well with many people. Prices are going up with a lot of other items as well, and this adds to an overall burden.
That’s the three obvious hurdles, and we haven’t even got into the intricacies of revenue expectations and how the City is going to pay for all this.
There is broad agreement that something has to be done to solve the problem of limited parking downtown.
City council has voted to go along with the kiosk solution, but now they’ve got a bigger job — overcoming at least three psychological barriers to widespread acceptance.
It’s an important task, and one that should be taken seriously, because the last thing our downtown economy needs is a backlash from the public over something as basic as parking a car.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.