To quote Brother Dave, a southern comedian, “success is getting what you want, while happiness is wanting what you get.”
The city council got the parking rate increase that it wanted, but raising parking rates will have more impact than just the desired effect of increasing parking revenue. For every action there is an opposite reaction. If the parking rate was increased to a $100 an hour the downtown parking stalls would all be virtually empty except, for the handicapped (who park for free) and the very wealthy, who don’t know the difference. Everyone else would be driving around looking for cheaper or free parking spots.
At the current rate of $1 per hour, there are people (estimated to be 5 or 10%) who do not want to pay $1 an hour for parking, or can’t afford to pay the $1 an hour for parking, or don’t want to be limited to 5 hours. As a consequence they already drive around looking for a free parking spot. Doubling the parking rate to $2.00 per hour will most likely increase the number of people who will be driving around looking for a free parking spot, thus increasing traffic congestion. As for those who think that driving around wastes money burning gas, with gas at $2.29 per gallon and parking at $2.00 an hour, it is actually cheaper to sit idling in traffic than it is to pay $2.00 an hour to be parked in a parking stall with the motor off. Don’t expect to see open parking stalls in the downtown area because of the $2.00 per hour rate.
On busy summer days it will look the same. With an estimated 80% being willing to pay the $2.00 an hour for any empty spot, those spots will fill quickly. However, as tourists become aware of the increased cost of parking, the number who will visit the City of Lake Geneva will decrease, even if only slightly. It is important for the City of Lake Geneva (especially for the city council members) to remember that the City of Lake Geneva is a tourist city with about 25% of the city’s revenue coming from, or dependent on, tourists. The visiting tourists are the city’s customers, and pleasing tourists and making their visit enjoyable is the only way to assure that tourists will continue to come and return to the City of Lake Geneva, thus assuring the city’s high level of tourist revenue. Doubling parking rates from 50 cents an hour to $1.00 an hour a couple of years back; redoubling some to $2.00 an hour; doubling the cost of parking ticket fines; increasing beach and Riviera rates are city council actions that do not increase the enjoyment of tourists who visit Lake Geneva, and it doesn’t increase the likelihood of they’re returning to the City of Lake Geneva, either.
Everything effects everything, and sometimes it does it with unexpected consequences, which can go unnoticed until it is too late to reverse them. Like milking a business, increasing fees on tourists can bring in more revenue until it causes attendance to plummet. There is some history about the effect of raising prices. As the cost of the beach pass went up in the past, the city did make more money off of the increase, but over time the number of tourists using it went down, causing revenue to decrease. The unknown question with parking costs is like with those of the beach costs. Will those who decided to not use the beach or park downtown because of the costs ever come back to Lake Geneva? And how many others will such a negative experience influence?”
Alderman Doug Skates and almost all other members like-minded planning commissioners put a stop to the transient rental debacle taking over the housing market in the City.
Transient renting and lodging has forever had a proper place in our society; we call them hotels or motels or sometimes resorts, but opportunists have found another vehicle to fill the need for temporary lodging by adulterating the home rental industry. They throw out the long term renters and replace them with short term renters willing to pay much more for the convenience. This practice destabilizes a neighborhood by replacing long term rental families with a constant flow of strangers intent on enjoying themselves to the fullest without concern or respect for neighbors or community. Formerly peaceful neighborhoods have been converted to raucous party zones where continually parked cars, loud music, rampant littering and late night parties with inebriated guests become the norm. This undermines the safety and property values of the neighborhood and the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the entire community.
Not Surprising Sign of Times