We believe the quickest way to ruin the appeal and charm of Fairhaven would be to institute fees for parking.
A much better suggestion for managing the high demand for parking in the Fairhaven business district is two-hour parking limits and prohibition of employee parking in the core district.
A recent article in The Bellingham Herald stated that the cost of collecting parking fees was higher than the revenue gained from these fees. We should not forget what happened when the Bellingham mall first opened. Arguably, the greatest appeal of the new mall was that it offered what downtown Bellingham did not offer: free parking. Even the city of Bellingham realizes the benefit of free parking to businesses by waiving parking fees during the Christmas period.
We do not need to build an expensive parking garage that ends up being just another way to have to pay for parking.
The high occupancy of parking spaces in the core Fairhaven business district, as cited in the Jan. 7, 2015, article in The Bellingham Herald, shows that free parking, Fairhaven charm, and the current offering of local businesses is working. The only way paid parking “solves” parking availability problems is by driving some of the customers away.
We should not destroy one of the principle draws of historic Fairhaven by implementing any form of parking fees.
Charles and Patricia Alexander