I don’t think a week goes by without a conversation regarding parking in downtown Escondido.
Some say parking is an issue; others say it is a perceived issue.
So who is right?
Parking in Escondido has changed over the century. I have no doubt that in 1888 there was ample space to tie your horse up. But as transportation evolved and the population increased, the once open streets are more congested and an open parking space directly in front of your favorite restaurant, gift shop or hair salon may be taken by anther patron.
In comparison, drive to San Diego and you will pay a hefty fee to park. Then, you will most likely walk a few blocks to reach your destination.
Also, other modes of transportation are becoming the norm. Though Escondido does not have the pay-for-use bicycles and scooters, we do have UBER and LYFT.
The mantra for the business owners is WE NEED MORE PARKING. However, for the retiring and younger generation, proximity to a walkable downtown is their lifestyle preference, no vehicle required.
Do we have a need today for more parking? Maybe. However, looking at trends and planning for the future of Escondido will be of the most value. People on two feet tend to shop more than those driving by.
I must admit that I have never circled downtown Escondido and left because I could not find parking.
Rorie Johnston is CEO of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.