Wrestling the AruParking Beast, 2022

There will be another chapter written in the annals of downtown parking.

The first chapter was a nightmare.

Forcefully introduced with an iron fist and draconic measures in 2016, the minister in charge hired a full crew of enforcers, made a huge investment in office set up, parking meters, vehicles, etc., and conceived a strict penal system, clamping and towing cars, fining mercilessly.

Then during the dying phase of the AVP campaign in 2017, clamping was lifted, and in one fell swoop, the 18 months spent on educating the public to park and pay, went down the toilet.

Paying for parking became on option, a suggestion, not a must.

Offenders could no longer be clamped, if you got a yellow sticker, most drivers promptly removed it.

The crew of enforcers had nothing to do, besides collecting their pay.

Then nothing happened for years. The meters malfunctioned; the investment destroyed.

AruParking was about to be revived in 2020 under a new director, lumping it with AruTram, but nothing happened, you know why.

The merchants on the main street would probably be happier if rules were restored and parking made again available, at a modest price, or better yet FREE for shoppers. Right now, store and government employees park in all prime locations and clients stay away.

Is a new age is coming, in view of recent discussions? The Minister of Transportation says he is trying to introduce paid parking. He is wrestling with the AruParking & AruTram beasts.

In total we have over 80,000 cars on the island, 1,651 parking spaces in town, 960 white for paying customers, 679 yellow, for monthly subscribers, and 12 designated for the handicapped.

To make matters even more complicated MinPres just announced that if it were up to her, her party would forget about the whole paid parking ordeal, but in view of the fact that her coalition partner, Raiz, is in charge, she must respectfully bow out of the discussion.

I will let you decide if her statement is true.

She also added that in regards to the original capital investment, she wouldn’t want to see it wasted. Which is humorous, because the investment is gone, nothing works. The kapitaalvernietiging is a fact.

But I totally agree with her finding that AruTram destroyed the main street, the little that was left after the accelerated shifting of business to Palm Beach, and till today, there is ZERO benefit from the expensive tram, yet plenty negative consequences, mainly the burden of conductors’ salaries.

Our two cents: Prime position should be dedicated to potential customers. Politicians should park away, and arrive at work by hopping on the tram, or on foot!

All prime parking must be dedicated to shoppers and diners, those who put money in the economy.

Shopping local and tourists must get priority. GOA and business employees park at a distance, and hitch a ride on the tram.

AND….All of those asking to open an F&B business on Palm Beach should kindly be directed to Oranjestad. Do something for main street, now.




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October 19, 2022
Rona Coster