To Pay or Not to Pay? Private Parking Leads to Safety Concerns
Nov 06, 2015 01:00PM ● Published by Taylor Stevens
By Taylor Stevens
West Jordan - City code states that each private business that builds in West Jordan must have a certain number of parking spaces, but does that mean they have to provide them free of charge?
If you drove past Gardner Village during the month of October, chances are you saw the street of 7800 South packed with the cars of those who didn’t pay the $5 fee to park in the facility for the center’s wildly popular “Witches Night Out” event.
This situation caused some residents to fear for the safety of both the pedestrians who crowd the sidewalk-less streets, and the cars, as large crowds with strollers stop traffic at crosswalks. For some, the chaos begged the question, “Should private properties like Gardner Village be allowed to charge for parking if it compromises the safety of residents?”
Chad Lamb, a West Jordan resident who lives near Gardner Village, first raised concerns about the parking situation in the area. On his afternoon commute to work one day, he said he saw a young family use the crosswalk when the lights weren’t blinking: it was luck that the cars were stopped at the time.
“I understand why they charge for parking,” Lamb, said. However, that doesn’t mean he agrees with it. “I do believe the cost to park is making some people want to park outside Gardner Village, which makes it a dangerous situation for both cars and pedestrians on 7800,” he said.
He added that if Gardner Village stopped charging for parking, it would “be safer for both cars and pedestrians traveling along 7800 South,” saying that although some cars may have to park on the street and at TRAX, there would be fewer.
As a private property, Gardner Village is allowed to provide parking at a price, and employees at Gardner Village say that doing so contributes to public safety more than it takes away from it.
“The parking lot is full, completely,” said Anna Lever, manager of Celebrations in Gardner Village. “So even if we didn’t charge to park, the parking lot would fill up and people would park on the street anyway.”
According to Lever, because Gardner Village charges for parking during its busiest seven days of the year—the UEA holiday and Witches Night Out events—it is able to hire police and parking attendants to help direct traffic and can also pay to rent out a field owned by the South Valley Water Reclamation facility to create extra parking. Gardner Village also rents lights to increase the safety in the field.
“I think Gardner Village is really trying to keep it safe,” said Nicole Green, a Gardner Village employee.
As an incentive to use their parking lots, Gardner Village also offers each customer a booklet full of coupons for use at individual shops upon payment of parking.
Overall, Green said that paying for parking helps public safety as much as Gardner Village helps the West Jordan economy.
“These are local businesses; all of these are ma and pa shops,” Green said. “They contribute in lots of ways to our economy.” λ