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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.

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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?

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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.

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Comments

Scott Marks Feb. 9, 2013 @ 9:57 a.m.

Okay. You have a nice ass, Andy. Thanks for sharing.

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Visduh Feb. 7, 2013 @ 10:46 a.m.

Scott, you are looking at this from an exceedingly egocentric point. Westfield has a real dog mall on its hands there, one crying for more patronage, and down to two anchor department stores from the original four. So, its answer to that is to insist that if you use its parking garage, you spend some money in there, or pay for the parking. In addition to making little sense, like taking in the Welcome mat, it will likely exacerbate the struggles of many of its tenants. Don't confuse "business" with being smart. Oh, there may be times when the parking freeloaders are a pain, but that mall has downtown retailing mostly to itself, and that lure of free parking whether you spent money there or not had many people driving right past malls such as Mission Valley and Fashion Valley to get there.

Just remember that Hahn didn't build Horton Plaza and all that parking for the use of patrons of neighboring stores and movie houses. And now that Westfield has it, well, their thinking is anybody's guess. All good things come to an end. Be happy that it lasted as long as it did. And either find another place for your flick watching, or check out public transportation.

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Scott Marks Feb. 9, 2013 @ 9:55 a.m.

Egocentric? Me? What about the welfare of our scantily clad, drunken youth from East County who spend their weekends lapping up overpriced booze in the Gaslamp? How is this decision going to impact them?

I first visited SD in 1985, the year Horton Plaza went up. Even then I was struck by this elitist, albeit colorful, oasis surrounded by adult book stores and titty bars. While the neighborhood's profile grew, Horton's presence diminished in value to the point that people only park there when they have someplace else to go. Their restaurant row is crap and the selection of stores far inferior to what shoppers will find at say Fashion Valley. The way to increase revenue is by giving people a wider, more unique array of stores, not upping parking prices. If Westfield truly wants to do a service for the community they'll go back to the 3 free hours. I think (hope) this is all going to blow up in their face.

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Visduh Feb. 12, 2013 @ 10:48 a.m.

I don't think we disagree on the foolishness of this move. It will perhaps being more revenue to Westfield in the short run, but those retail leases are usually of the "triple-net" variety which means the shopping center owner and lessor shares in the sales revenue of the tenant retailers. The other side of that coin is that it suffers when the retailers suffer. I referred to this move as taking in the Welcome mat, and it will dissuade some shoppers who might spend money in there from coming, because if they don't buy from the HP retailers, they're out the parking charge for nothing. This dumb, dumb move may soon be rescinded.

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HansWangbichler Feb. 7, 2013 @ 11:36 a.m.

Ride the Coaster, the bus, the trolley, or a bicycle. Downtown San Diego is the most accessible area in the county. Leave the car at home. One of the advantages of being in an urban environment is that there is no need to rely on an automobile. Not only are the options more sociable and healthy, you will see more and enrich your visit downtown.With our beautiful climate and diverse population, the cinema will be only a portion of your evening.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 7, 2013 @ 2:14 p.m.

Ride the Coaster, the bus, the trolley, or a bicycle. Downtown San Diego is the most accessible area in the county

Yes, we are going to "ride the coaster" to HP to see a movie. Or pay $1.50 in bus fair each way and park in North Park. Or bike it, and where does the bike go when you want to shop????? And how do we bring back goods???

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