Walter Mencken 12:02 p.m., May 30
No more free parking at Whoreton Plaza
Shopping mall gouges patrons with $8 an hour parking fee
It was all over the news yesterday. The three free hours with validation are gone unless you drop at least $10 at one of their stores. Otherwise, $8 an hour or a flat $20 after 9 p.m.
It's not our fault the dumbbells at Pacific Theatres didn't allow for a parking structure when The Gaslamp 15 went up in 1997. For years it's been my sworn duty to alert anyone and everyone to the beauty and brilliance of the theatre now owned and operated by Reading Cinemas. "But there's no parking," cry the uninformed. "Yes," I sigh, "but Horton Plaza offers 3 free hours and it's only a two block walk."
Why must everything south of Broadway be priced for tourists or drunken conventioneers with padded expense accounts to drain? No other Westfield shopping facility in the area charges for parking, why soak the locals who like to window shop at Horton Plaza? And where will fanboys park mommy and daddy's cars when Comic-Con storms through town?
What kind of message does this send out to local filmgoers? First they lop off half the screens at UA Horton Plaza to make way for a performance center. The price of a matinee ticket at UA/HP is currently $9, one buck shy of the $10 now required to park on the house. Does that mean patrons will have to shell out additional cash on concessions in order to qualify?
Do you have any idea how big a blow this is to my lifestyle? I do serious time at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15 and have no intention of shelling out $25 for the privilege of parking at HP. Nor will the drunken revelers who prowl the Gaslamp on weekends. Looks like it's time to either hop the trolley or move the party elsewhere.