Santa Fe, NM

Opinion: Finding a Place to Park in Downtown Santa Fe Has Become Even More Difficult

Daniella Cressman

It was already a struggle to find parking in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico: the parking garage was quite expensive unless you planned to spend the entire day there, and sometimes the meters would gobble up your hard-earned quarters without giving you the time to park in exchange—They are solar-powered, so too much shade can affect their functionality. While I admire the effort to preserve the environment, I also think busy consumers deserve a bit more efficiency.

Now, red hoods have begun appearing on meters in an area where finding a place to park was already notoriously difficult.

"You’ve probably seen them appearing — and then,disappearing — on downtown streets and near the Railyard. There were seven along Cathedral Place on Wednesday, just outside the entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. On Tuesday you could find four on Washington Avenue, and two behind the state Capitol on Don Gaspar Avenue. In some spots they seem to cluster, as if enjoying each other’s company. At other locations, they stand alone and thus stand out like a big, red thumb. Or a big, red hood — the type you see covering some of the city’s downtown parking meters. It’s a source of constant annoyance in a part of town where finding a convenient place to park can feel like, well, a gold strike." —Robert Nott

Unfortunately, this seems to be affecting businesses in the area, as fewer consumers can find a place to park.

For instance, Nano Gallery owner B. Paul Brockwell was quite exasperated by the situation.

"...the pair of meters has been broken for some time, which means two fewer parking spaces for potential customers." —B. Paul Brockwell

The caveat is that not all red-hooded meters are inoperable: many of them have simply been rented out...

"...not all red-hooded meters are inoperable. The majority — 22 — are rented out by local businesses, which can pay $30 a day to reserve those spots for customers, employees or, in the case of a restaurant, take-out diners." —Regina Wheeler

According to Wheeler, the City Different has ordered green hoods and blue hoods to distinguish the circumstances surrounding each parking meter.

"In hopes of distinguishing rented parking meters from those that are inoperable... the city just ordered green hoods. Once they arrive, green will designate devices that are broken; red is for those being rented. The city also uses blue hoods to define spaces reserved for funerals and other special events and for people who are disabled." —Regina Wheeler

Honestly, parking tickets cost no less than $35 each in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so it would be smart to invest in more affordable parking spaces for civilians who are eager to visit downtown businesses without getting their quarters eaten away in exchange for zero minutes or driving around for hours looking for a place to stop their cars and turn off their engines.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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