I’m reminded every weekend that the Griz play at home – the University doesn’t provide nearly enough parking for all the Griz fans that drive to the game.
But, this last weekend something different happened to me as I parked on the streets in the University district. I found myself behind a vehicle that I recognized – from out on Kona Ranch Road. Yep, they’d driven in from their property (next to the river) where they post and enforce ‘No Parking’ signs. Somehow they feel that it is all right for them to park in front of someone else’s property when they clearly don’t think it is OK for someone else to park in front of theirs.
Of course, this is common. Other than on Griz gameday, you’re not allowed to park in the University District. Nor are you welcome to park in the Grant Creek area if you want to hike up one of the nearby peaks on Forest Service land. And you can completely forget parking along the Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor during the summer since the adjacent landowners have severely limited the number of legal spaces. Even the Costco parking lot seems to be full more times than not and there’s nowhere else to legally park!
If we’re not allowed to park on public streets or roads in so many situations, shouldn’t the attractions be responsible for providing parking? Not only would the University have to build enough parking for all 20,000+ people that drive to Griz games, but MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks would have to buy up land near the Fishing Access Sites and the Forest Service would build some parking near the trailheads.
Of course, if you’re going to do that then we would expect downtown business to equally provide parking for their customers, too. Right? None of this relying upon street parking – if my guests aren’t allowed to park outside of my property, then why should their guests be allowed to park outside their property? Perhaps the East Front Street Parking Structure is for that purpose?
But, wait, apparently asking Macy’s to pay a percentage of the operating &/or maintenance costs could be a deal breaker! Instead, Missoula County Commissioners have unanimously approved designating Missoula County an Economic Recovery Zone to enable private entities, the County, City, and other local governments to access federally subsidized financing. Apparently, the county is going to borrow $8 million dollars and give it to the City to build the structure. And, at the same time the Missoula Downtown Association wants to raise the downtown parking fines. Yep, we’ll be paying four times over for the privilege to park on our downtown streets.
Which begs the question – why do we pay for and build parking for some people in some locations, but not others? Oh, I know: economic development! Sadly, that word is rapidly becoming code – for subsidizing my business at your expense.