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Why the City Likes Valet Parking

On Thursday, the Dallas Police Department will begin enforcing the Valet Parking Services division of the Code, a duty that's currently handled by Public Works and Transportation. But for nearly a year, the council's been considering making changes to the Code -- specifically, to the part that disallows paid valet services from using parking spaces required by the city. Because, see, City Code demands that a business must have "one space per 500 square feet of floor area"; also, a minimum of five spaces is required. And, till now, the city has maintained that that those required spots must be free. But since Austin, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio don't have that rule in place, Dallas, per a briefing being presented this afternoon to the city council'sTransporation and Environment Committee, is considering yanking its provision, which would mean valet companies could begin using those spots too, not just some remote parking lot.

The briefing more or less suggests that the city kind of likes charging folks to pay for parking: After all, says the doc, "Requirement for free parking encourages an auto dominated transportation system," which is the antithesis of forwardDallas!'s call for transit-oriented developments. Says today's briefing, "Paid parking allocates more of the cost of using an automobile directly to the user which encourages use of other modes (carpooling, transit, bicycling and walking)." But, if nothing else, the briefing does provide one very handy clip-and-save: a map and list of all the businesses in town that employ valets. Guess which district has the most.

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