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Hits & Misses

Parking Wars

Also: The Good News, Finding the Unknown

By Katharine Biele
Posted // June 6,2012 -

Miss_1.jpgParking Wars
You have to wonder who’s working on Salt Lake City’s “downtown plan” now that motorists are facing increased parking fees in a struggling urban area. Sure, City Creek has finally risen, but not to the high expectations of planners. Theaters and restaurants are adding to the mix, but many people still fear those old parking dilemmas. Mayor Ralph Becker has installed parking-meter pay stations with smartphone capabilities, but they’re not accessible to a wheelchair user. Apparently, the Downtown Alliance likes the idea of upping parking fees to keep things “turning over.” And the city staff says, hey, Seattle did it and is seeing an increase in revenue. But Seattle has plenty of detractors, some of who see the fee structure as a “war on automobiles.” Their plan is to triple the number of cyclists. Is that what Salt Lake City’s up to?

Miss_1.jpgThe Good News
Maybe the journalistic community just takes itself too seriously. At least that’s what KSL-TV seems to think, as it ushers in a new era of “levity” in the news. Longtime anchor Bruce Lindsay is taking off for an LDS mission and is being replaced by two BYU types—Dave McCann and Mike Headrick, who will sit, stand and/or joke with Nadine Wimmer. This is doubtless an extension of the changing course of the church-owned media operations. The Deseret News has moved to a faith-based format, with “good news” at its heart. KSL’s Tanya Vea says the new anchor team will add flexibility and personality to the news. Recently, the top of the news was a heartwarming story about the adoption of a child with Down syndrome. Sappy news and good-natured banter—is that what’s been missing?

Hit_1.jpgFinding the Unknown
Sometimes, it’s the small print that’s important. So it is in the latest study by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic & Business Research. Titled “A Review of the Costs of Nuclear Power Generation,” the study seeks to compare costs of coal (which accounts for 81 percent of the state’s electricity), hydroelectric and wind power to nuclear. The document is carefully worded and tiptoes over any final judgments. While there are “plausible scenarios” in which nuclear is less costly than natural gas, the study does note that nuclear economics depend a great deal on unknowns. And there’s irony in the “endnotes,” which say the research was funded by Blue Castle Holdings (seeking a permit for a plant on the Green River) and PacifiCorp. And still, nuclear would be about 40 percent more expensive than natural gas or coal.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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Posted // June 6,2012 at 12:22

There's more to the "parking wars" than people who come downtown for a night out and have to pay parking fees or get a friendly pink envelope. (Bicycles huh? What are visitors supposed to do, cycle down from suburbs 15 miles away and change into their symphony outfits?)

It's an assault on people who LIVE downtown. I walk and use the bus a lot, but I have to have a car for my job, and there is nothing but 2-hour street parking where I live. If I'm gone all day at work it's fine, but days off at home require moving my car a full block away and then back.

If I need to go somewhere, it's easier to drive--if I left my car there and it overstayed the 2-hour limit, I would get ticketed. I can only walk or take the bus if my car is in a safe place. Unlimited parking spots do exist on my street but you can imagine they're always taken.

And let's not forget the fabulous idea to boot cars with 2 unpaid tickets. It usually costs over $400 to remove the boot, and that must be paid at once within a day before your car is impounded. So if you don't have $400 sitting around, which people kinda don't if they're poor, no more car for you! Thanks for the love, SLC.