We support a city staff recommendation to allow motorists to park in the four downtown ramps for free for their first hour during the week on a six-month trial basis as a way to spur more use of the underused ramps. Increased use of ramps at less cost by motorists who wish to park for longer periods of time should free up metered parking spaces in front of downtown businesses for short-term customers.

In other words, it's a win-win proposition.

Not only do we encourage the City Council to embrace this proposal, but we offer council members a suggestion we believe would help make up whatever decrease in ramp revenue results.

The city should charge one consistent, reasonable, flat fee to park in all downtown ramps for all events at the Tyson Events Center.

How about, say, $5 per vehicle?

We know of no comparable facility at which ticketholders for events enjoy free parking. In other words, the public expects to pay for parking to attend events in places like the Tyson - in both the facility parking lot or ramp and in nearby lots and ramps.

The expectation should be no different here.

If the city begins to charge for ramp parking during all Tyson events, it should also provide, as a perk, free, accessible shuttle service to and from the ramps and the Tyson for those who wish to use such service.

Toby Keith comes to town for a Tyson concert on Aug. 26. That strikes us as a good night to put this plan into action.

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