Our View: Nevada City parking issue requires thought, buy-in from community
The Nevada City Council, after a short stumble, made the right move on parking this week.
Confronted with a crowd intent on stopping a quadrupled hourly parking rate, the council blinked. The local government opted to delay the increase to $1 from 25 cents, and instead form a committee to further examine the issue.
That means the parking rates will stay the same, at least for now.
For once, instead of chiding politicians for changing their minds, let’s applaud them. The council moved too fast on the parking fee increase. It didn’t get enough input from residents and business owners beforehand. It made a mistake.
And now it’s taken steps to correct that error. The newly formed committee will examine the issue, now expected to return to the board in September.
That move deserves acknowledgement and thanks.
Let’s take this example of government working and use it as an example. We can build on it, improving it and ourselves.
Because the series of events that led us to this point isn’t entirely the council’s fault. We, as voters and residents, could use some improving as well.
Plenty of attendees to Tuesday’s meeting had good ideas. For example, it’s worth examining the possibility of sensors that would reset a parking space’s time once a vehicle leaves the spot.
Unfortunately, some people appeared at the meeting seemingly unprepared. They’d missed the council’s previous vote on the parking issue and didn’t know about the proposed compromise on the agenda.
It’s incumbent upon us to educate ourselves about local issues and come to meetings informed. Agendas are posted at http://www.nevadacityca.gov before each meeting, and video recordings of the meetings are available online afterward.
Opponents to the parking fee change achieved a partial success this week — the postponement of the rate hike. Imagine what more they could accomplish with an arsenal of knowledge about what the council has done and the direction it intended to go.
The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce armed itself with not only information, but strong support when it appeared before council members. This preparation is essential to swaying local government. It works. Look at the council’s change of mind for proof.
However, this victory could be short lived without your continued involvement. September, when the issue will return to the council, is two months away. If you want parking rates to remain at 25 cents an hour, or at least not jump to $1, you’re going to have to get informed and active.
And that includes finding some alternatives you might not like.
Business owners and their employees must stop parking in prime spots. Government workers with offices in the area need sizable, dedicated parking.
The council must do more than slap higher fees on parking meters. This change requires contemplation. It requires buy-in from business owners, residents and government workers.
Whatever committee the Nevada City Council creates should have members that include people from those sectors. Hopefully, that will ensure a majority favors whatever compromise is forged when the committee presents its recommendations.
And maybe we can actually shift gears on this issue and move it forward.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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