Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Adding insult to injury

While I was making my way over the City of Houston Municipal Courthouse this morning to handle a case for a client with a commerical driver's license I noticed that parking prices in the private lots across Houston Street from the courthouse had gone up. No longer does it cost $5 to park a block from the courthouse -- the new rate is $10.

Now I'm fairly cheap when it comes to parking so I will gladly parking a couple of blocks down the road for free and walk to the courthouse. I understand that most folks who venture to the courthouse aren't regulars and don't know they can find free parking just a little ways down Lubbock Street. I also understand that it's absurd that a citizen who has to spend hours in a cramped courtroom also has to spend an outrageous amount of money for the convenience of parking their car.

The same phenomenon can be seen in downtown Houston for those folks unfortunate enough to have to appear at the criminal courthouse, the juvenile courthouse or the family law center. If you don't know that it's cheaper to park near the ballpark, be prepared to fork over $10, $15 or even more for the privilege of parking near the courthouses. The county was nice enough to build a parking garage for the courthouse complex, but they'll charge you as well.

It doesn't have to be this way, does it? Down in Galveston there's plenty of free parking in the courthouse parking lot - and if that's full they built an overflow lot across the street. It's the same thing out in Fort Bend County. Of course there parking lot is undersized, but street parking is plentiful, if you don't mind walking and can remember where you parked.


Lamar Boughton said...

I guess it makes sense during this time of economic hardship. Whos idea was this? This had to pass city council or something to change. Didn't it?

I wonder if you could explain, or express your opinion, on the un-uniformed personnel that seem to always be around during off hours at the parking lots and charge a premium for parking at lots that would otherwise be free during those hours. This has always baffeled me.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Thanks for your comment.

The city and county have no control over the prices parking lots charge because those lots are owned by private entities. Harris County built a parking lot across the street from the Civil Courthouse and the City of Houston owns the lot across the street from the municipal courthouse.