Penny $2.50 Wise, Pound Foolish”

To raise truly piddling amounts of revenue — I paid $2.50 to park for 90 minutes* or so the other week — downtown Minneapolis merchants are easily foregoing 3x or even 10x times that in sales revenue (my very conservative estimate).

parkingSo, instead of navigating the maddening system of remote parking kiosks and five-digit parking numbers, my hunch is that shoppers are simply heading for the more accessible ‘burbs.

And buying their Christmas presents, new clothes, and out-to-eat dinners there.

Obstacle Course

Those who venture downtown have to navigate a 4-step obstacle course:

Step #1:  find an available off-street space.

Step #2:  correctly note the corresponding five digit number for that space (each sign has two numbers — one for the space ahead and behind of it, respectively.  See photo, above).

If you don’t have a pen handy, be sure to memorize it.

Step #3:  walk as much as a block to the pay kiosk (“pay station”), then navigate the confusing menu of choices regarding payment method and adding time increments, to ultimately generate a printed receipt.

Questions:  was that 25¢ to add each additional 10 minutes, or 50¢ for every 15 minutes?  And was that a 30 minute or 2 hour (or 4 hour) maximum?

Step #4:  trudge back to your car to display the receipt on your car’s dash.

Of course, none of the above is helped by a howling wind and below zero temp’s (never mind windchill).

See also, “Uptown Minneapolis’ New 50% Surtax on Small Purchases.”

*Like a lot of people, I regard the new, electronic parking system as a sort of digital Trojan Horse.

So, in Chicago, where electronic meters were installed a few years ago, both the rates and “pay” hours (vs. free, like on holidays) have climbed dramatically.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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