Parking rates sky-rocket easily in major cities, esp. in downtown areas. Lets keep Austin nice and different by not going down the beaten path. If we can pull that off, it would be a very unique thing about Austin that people would love!
Increasing parking rates in downtown is not a fair option. It only deters those who feel the pinch more by making downtown parking a thing of luxury for those with more dollars to spare. We should stay away from money-based policies across the board and only adapt inclusive solutions (after all, 36% of Austinites are in the low income group).
The best solution would be to prevent the grand waste of time and stress that driving around looking for parking brings.
A parking app could do the trick. All it needs is a commitment from the city to make all parking spots in congested areas trackable through low-cost sensors. Information from the sensors can be easily relayed to a central system that can be used to provide parking availability info on the mobile app. That way people would be able to go straight to an empty spot close to them and park. It will also prevent them from driving around unnecessarily if the app tells them that all parking spots in their area of interest are taken and encourage them to use park-n-ride or public transit instead.