News broke tonight, after weeks of speculation, that the Board of the Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC) approved a plan to charge $3 for parking at Waterfront Park five days per week (Wednesday – Sunday).
Despite the 6-3 vote by the board, it seems nearly everyone in the public sphere opposes this change — Mayor Fischer, Metro Council (Bill Hollander and Barbara Sexton-Smith, in particular), and “hundreds” of Louisvillians, according to an Insider Louisville article leading up to the vote.
Fischer wrote a letter to the WDC Board Tuesday saying, “This park is our community living room, a gathering place for all Louisvillians. I do not support creating an unnecessary impediment to access.” Hollander, probably the most outspoken critic of the plan, tweeted, “[Waterfront Park] should be accessible to everyone, every day – not just Monday & Tuesday.”
In the hours since the news has come out, both Hollander and Sexton-Smith have issued statements of disapproval. Sexton-Smith wrote: “This is disgraceful. … This decision will promote segregation at a time when we must all do everything we can to bring everyone together. … We must not balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. … Keep Our Waterfront Park Free!”
Social media comments echoed/furthered these sentiments. One user referred to the plan as a “money grab,” another said the park’s board should be disbanded, and another suggested legal action against the park.
Considering all this — the nearly universal, bipartisan, community-wide opposition to this plan — we’d like to weigh in with an unpopular, contrary opinion. Here goes:
It’s okay to ask people to pay to park their cars, even at parks. Continue reading “On Waterfront Park and Why Charging for Parking is Okay”