Hello, and welcome back for another Red Deer Reality Rant. I have covered a lot of topics in this series, and some topics have been rehashed, so to speak. If you have read the first post in this series then you already likely know what I will write about today. I have done a number of articles about downtown Red Deer, and, as with the first post, some issues affecting downtown Red Deer. Today I would like to speak about the new parking system downtown, which I believe takes effect on this day.
Downtown Red Deer loses a lot of potential customers due to parking problems. It is long overdue that the city rectifies this. I agree that meters are outdated, but the new system, run through an app is really not inclusive to a large number of residents of Red Deer. The new system uses an app called Hot Spot that you can use on your phone to input your information and pay for parking in downtown Red Deer. However, the city has not taken into account that there are a substantial amount of residents who either do not have a cellphone or are as I might say, technologically challenged.
If someone chooses not to own a cellphone, I say all the power to them. I am hopelessly addicted to mine and have a little envy for people who choose to live off the grid. I understand that it it likely that you are reading this right now from the comfort of your cellphone and I agree that technology is a great tool. But not everyone feels this way, and their choices should be respected.
There are also a lot of people who do have a cellphone, but are not very savvy in using it’s full capabilities and either choose to use it’s basic functions or limit what capacity they use their phones for. My mom is one such person. She happens to be a senior although I do know that many seniors have adapted to technology and use it well. Nevertheless our society is ostracizing people who haven’t conformed to information technology by creating systems like online banking and apps that replace traditional financial services and systems.
To exclude these citizens is unfair and unnecessary. I know that many people will say that everyone needs to get with the times and adjust accordingly to new technologies. But there are people with a different kind of intelligence that are really struggling to understand and accept these technologies. I believe that they shouldn’t have to. I hate to be the one harping about parking in downtown Red Deer when there are bigger problems and the city is trying to fix it, but there must be a better solution.
The city stands to make a pile of money from tickets and misunderstandings about parking. It probably only makes sense to them to create this new parking system. But it comes at the cost of excluding people, and will be a further deterrent for people visiting downtown, and some just won’t want the hassle. Downtown Red Deer is a nifty place, and I hate to see these things happen to it. Whatever happened to the idea of more free parking? It makes more sense.