The recent news that the Juneau Airport Board is considering changing the fees for parking and eliminating the half hour of free parking should be looked at carefully. These changes may not be the appropriate means to eliminate the shortfall of parking receipts.
The present fee structure went into effect in the spring of 2000. The avowed purpose was "to alleviate congestion at the terminal curbs and parking lot exits by increasing the free time allotted in the short-term lot," according to the city's news release at that time. It appears that the change was successful in accomplishing its purpose. So why consider eliminating it, changing back to what caused a problem some six years ago?
Rather, we should look at ways to eliminate the shortfall by changing the terms of the contract or physical and procedural changes at the terminal entrances and exits.
If the rates are raised to what is proposed, the people coming to the terminal to pick up or drop off passengers or goods will either wait at the curb or circle the lot until they can finish their business. In any event, there will be fewer users of the paid parking; thus decreasing the receipts and not accomplishing the purpose of the rate change.
Summarizing, we should take a hard look at the proposed rate changes before the board, and instead take other means of solving the problem.
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