BOZEMAN — It’s the age-old question, ‘Am I going be able to find a spot to park downtown?’ Well, that fight might not be something as new as we all thought.
Eric “I find traffic and parking impossible here but we did get lucky and found a spot right on Main Street,” says Arizona resident Eric Stumpaugh.
Bozeman history buffs might remember that paid parking used to be a part of Bozeman’s downtown.
Mike “The chief of police approached the city commission in September of 1945 asking them to install meters on Main Street,” says Bozeman Economic Development Program Manager, Mike Veselik.
Parking used to cost 5 cents per hour and residents were only allowed to park for that hour downtown. Now, one worker downtown wasn’t surprised that paid parking could be making a comeback.
“Not really I can understand why they would really want to pull in the tourism since our town is growing so much,” says Bozeman resident Megan Ward.
Paid parking was in place for close for around 40 years, it went away in 1980 over fears of competition when the Gallatin Valley Mall was set to open.
“There was some concern that downtown businesses wouldn’t be able to compete with the mall given its abundant free parking,” says Veselik.
As the population and traffic in Bozeman increase, the idea of paid parking is resurfacing.
“We have gotten used to the fact that there have been no meters on Main Street for the last 40 plus years, now that we’ve seen the data that our parking is full downtown it’s time to think about shifting that policy back,” says Veselik.
Eric who also calls Tucson Arizona home says he’s used to paying for parking in Tucson’s downtown and says times are changing.
“I think it’s a great idea, free is over,” says Stumpaugh.
No decisions have been made about paid parking yet.
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