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ISTE 2013 – Parking in San Antonio

June 24, 2013

Parking. Just that one word can either bring a non-response, or a man-eating, fire-breathing, vicereal response. As someone who frequently goes to downtown Calgary and discovers the incredible cost of parking, I am familiar with the negative responses. It seems like every time I go – it’s like the parking companies are pulling $27 out of my pocket. And if I have to be in two places on opposite ends, I might get it twice. And many times I’m parking in a gravel pad. I’m parking in a spot that’s meant for two bicycles – there’s not way you can fit a normal sized vehicle in.

And of course it would be my luck that some tourist has their 3/4 tonne dually parking in two spots, and it would be the only empty spot. My little Honda Civic is small, but won’t fit in there. Especially when the dually dude opens his door and scrapes the paint off my roof.

I remember one time I was parking for the Skills Canada competition in the Stampede parking lot. I was going to be at the Big Four building to see and support some staff who were participating. I pulled up to the booth and parking was $10. (Which was cheap really, but I remember parking in Edmonton at the Expo Centre was free) Anyway, the attendant actually charged me $100 (they hit too many zero’s) I’m thinking “Hey, no big deal, just refund my card” But the attendant did not have access to do so. So I told her where I would be, and wasn’t sure I’d ever see my refund, but lo and behold, within 40 minutes she found me, apologized profusely, and gave me my refund receipt.

So imagine my surprise when I see some of the parking rates here in San Antonio. Here are some of the signs:
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Yes, it’s true! Parking is cheap in downtown San Antonio! You can be right in downtown and pay only $2.50 for the day! YES! FOR THE DAY! And each of these parking lots is either in the middle of downtown, or less than a block away. (And these are short blocks folks! Looks like big blocks on a map, but in reality they are short!)

Unbelievable! In fact, there are signs that say parking is FREE on Tuesdays after 5 PM! What? Really? FREE parking in the middle of a busy, very busy, very vibrant and active downtown nightlife? In a big city? Wow!

I think San Antonio has got it figured out! Make parking cheap, and even free, and encourage everyone to come downtown!

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