Currently we have a situation where we are seeing an influx of residents into downtown. It is only problematic in the fact that as our upper levels (residential), fill up then there will be no place to park on-street, because currently all day long, the on-street parking is limited to 2hrs. Although it is not metered (yes, it's free), it is enforced by foot patrol.
The problem comes in where the residents are requesting (as they are currently) that the on-street be posted as 2 hr OR Resident parking as we have in a small predominantly residential area of downtown. If we grant their request for the additional allowance of resident parking, it will supercede the 2 hr parking and the space for a business patron will likely be lost all day to a tenant/condo owner who doesn't work during the day. As more and more residential comes in who should we "favor"? Favor the businesses and make the tenants (and employees) park in the off-street lots? or vice versa? We don't want to lose either vital component of redeveloping our downtown. I'm sure many older downtowns are in the same dilemma, whereas in 19??, when these downtowns were laid out, most families didn't have cars and parking was of little value.
We have also tossed around the idea of meters with the revenue collected going toward a parking structure to add spaces in one of our surface lots. Our older business owners are already pretty dead set against meters, as they (meters) were downtown in the 70's and removed when the mall was built in hopes of saving the downtown by offering free parking, which it didn't.