By Mike Rosenberg : mercurynews – excerpt
SAN JOSE — The cost to park on downtown San Jose streets could double to pay for new meters that accept credit cards, a change that could free up more spaces and cut down on parking tickets — or drive visitors away.
The City Council on Feb. 4 is set to order new smart meters that also eventually will allow drivers to pay with a cellphone – in addition to credit and debit cards and coins – and provide real-time data for a new app that will show where parking is available.
To pay for the $1.3 million batch of new meters, city officials say rates would increase at those meters from $1 an hour to as much as $2 an hour. Dropping in 50 cents would put 15 minutes on the meter — and a dime would net you 3 minutes.
The current $1-an-hour rate at San Jose meters hasn’t budged in 11 years, making it one of the cheapest big cities in the United States for parking, far less expensive than San Francisco and half the cost of Oakland…
But some business owners say the parking fee increase will give customers an excuse to shop somewhere else.
“As it is, it’s hard to get people to come to downtown San Jose,” said Kam Razavi, who owns the Loft Bar and Bistro on South Second Street. “If they’ve got to spend more money, it’s the last thing we need.”…
Talk about adding insult to injury. Forcing the victims to pre-pay for their punishment. And the rationale is, you must pay more for convenience. This is hype and we know it. Looks as if the city council holds the authority in San Jose. That is an elected body. Let’s see how the voters react during the next election.