LETTER: Confused Des Moines parking policy

Does Des Moines have too many or too few parking spaces downtown? Can customers occasionally walk a couple of blocks to get to a business or is that asking too much? Should businesses provide for their customer parking or should the taxpayers?

The Des Moines City Council last Thursday considered a Consent Calendar item, which states that there is insufficient parking downtown for business customers and orders that the city lease land and make improvements for a municipal parking lot.

Less than a year ago, the city stated that there was excess parking downtown and extended an ordinance that exempts new businesses from having to provide parking spots for their own customers.

Now that it is determined there is insufficient parking available, will the ordinance exempting parking requirements be repealed so that those commercial properties downtown will again be required to provide customer parking?

If the city is creating a new policy to use tax dollars to pick up the tab for commercial parking downtown, please clarify that for the public. And please inform us how this is prioritized ahead of existing deficiencies such as police services, which have at least five unfilled/frozen positions, and road maintenance, which has been neglected with delayed repairs on decaying streets.

Dan Sherman
Des Moines

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