Parking won't be free -- but then, it never is. The city hasn't worked out the exact prices yet, but between the rent they'll pay to the state's DMV and the fees paid to a private parking management company, they expect to break even. Benefits to area merchants: a boost in foot-traffic. Benefits to out-of-towners: easy access to the panhandle, which will be especially nice once they can get that damn bandshell set up. The proposal is with the Parking Authority right now; they're expected to make a decision about it in June or July.
But what about car-sharing? Ah, that's a bit nebulous. The DMV would have to agree to donate some permanent spaces to make that work, since operations like CityCarShare needs to have the spots available 24/7. Although car-sharing is of major benefit to the city, the benefit to the DMV of such a magnanimous gesture isn't terribly clear. But what better advertisement for car-sharing could there be than a bunch of pretty, available hipster-mobiles parked outside, with a sign reading, "hey, for just $10 a month, you'll never have to pay for insurance, gas, repairs, or registration -- and you can say goodbye to those constant trips to the DMV."