By Linda Alexander
Yes, the city needs to raise funds and yes, we must all do our part. However, this dramatic increase of 400% in historic downtown San Pedro will have a devastating effect on our businesses.
Downtown is the only shopping area in San Pedro with parking meters, yet another reason for shoppers to avoid downtown.
Although San Pedro is poised to become a prosperous area, that time has not arrived.
One Los Angeles city manager was quoted as stating that the increased fees would encourage drivers to utilize city parking structures. San Pedro is still without a parking structure despite calls for construction.
Business owners have endured a significant reduction of parking spaces in the past few years. Higher fees will open up spaces because customers will not come.
It is difficult to comprehend why, in newspaper articles, parking fees are compared with Hollywood, Pasadena and Santa Monica. San Pedro is far from that level of economic activity at this time.
I suggest that the fees be increased gradually over a period of five years. That should give enough time for us to realize the economic improvement which so many in our town are moving to create.
If the fees have not changed in 17 years during many periods of solid economic growth, they can wait now during this general downtime.
Linda Alexander is a San Pedro consultant to small businesses and non-profit organizations. This commentary is adapted from a recent letter she wrote to Los Angeles city officials.