Bend has its share of pricey problems. Unfortunately, city government makes some problems harder than they have to be.
Ever need to find a place to park downtown? Finding a spot can be a small, special moment. Finding a parking spot right in front of where you want to go? That’s winning the lottery.
That is not entirely the city’s fault. The success of downtown Bend means people want to go there.
But the city is trying to make it more difficult to park downtown. It’s implementing paid parking that it hopes to spread. Some people think that’s awful. Others say it’s about time people throw off the yoke of late-stage car culture and walk, bike or take a bus.
However you feel, shouldn’t whatever parking spaces there are be easily accessible to everyone?
In two places in Bend — the Wall/Greenwood lot and in a small area along Irving Street — you can pay for parking only if you download an app and put it on your phone.
What if you don’t have a smartphone? What if you don’t want to stick some app on your phone? What if you don’t want to share your name, location, billing address, mailing address, transaction data, GPS data or possibly more just to park? The app, ParkMobile, might be a glimpse of the future, but should you be required to use it to park? No.
The city’s parking arrangement with ParkMobile is just a pilot. It’s worth testing. And then, it’s worth discarding.