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PT BLOG


JVH comments on Parking News every day at PT Blog – log on at www.parkingtoday.com. Each month, there are at least 40 other comments like these, posted daily.


Princeton Raises Parking Rates; Merchants up in Arms … Princeton, NJ, has raised its parking rates, or at least


extended the times when parking fees are charged, plus added Sunday to the parking charges. The merchants are up in arms. and I think rightly so. Here is the reason for the increase: On April 7, Borough Council voted to expand metered


hours for downtown parking from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday to replace free street parking and 25-cent-per-hour garage parking with regular daily rates. The changes were considered in order to raise revenue for the borough as it attempts to produce a fiscal year 2009 budget that will not increase property taxes (emphasis mine). So, the rates aren’t being raised to ensure that there are


more spaces available for parking, nor is the increase come from any market-based study to help the parking program. They are based on the need of the local government maw to be fed. This isn’t a parking fee; it’s a tax, pure and simple. The local city pops and moms frankly missed PR 101. I


wonder what would have happened if they had told the mer- chants this: We are studying the parking situation in the central busi-


ness district.We know there is not enough parking and want to make it more convenient for your customers. We are going to set parking rates so there is one free space


always available on each block face, making it easy and con- venient for your customers. The fees will vary from day and time based on the traffic in the area. The money generated will be used to beautify the down-


town area; pay for new sidewalks, underground utilities and parks in the area; and help fund a downtown merchants asso- ciation, which will work for the enhancement of all business activities downtown. Do you think the merchants might jump on board to this


type of an approach? I do. The one the city took simply told the merchants that they


were chopped liver and had to get in line and bend over so the city could extract its pound of flesh from each of them and their customers. Bad Princeton, You did everything exactly wrong. Don


Shoup, call your office.


Public-Private, Handicapped, and LA Los Angeles is considering “going out” for a public-pri-


vate partnership on its parking. However, there is a minor problem. Laws in California require that handicapped parkers be


given “free” parking both on- and off-street. This, of course, causes a lot of issues. I commented on the San Francisco con- cerns in my April 14 blog, and Don Shoup has taken up the banner for Los Angeles. Read his comments on PT’s web site (www.parkingtoday.com). Just wait – it will come up on the home page. The gist is that if handicapped parking is free, there are a number of problems. First of all, the potential buyer (lessee) of


46 JUNE 2009 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com


parking spaces can’t really determine how much money will be coming in, since the number of handicapped permits is unknown. Second, the incidence of cheating is legend. The potential partner with Los Angeles is going to bid the


number down because of the unknown factors. Read Don’s comments. He has a solution.


Hats Off to On-Street Escrow in San Rafael I was pretty hard on pay-and-display designers a couple of


weeks ago.“Hard to work, not intuitive; localmerchants have to ‘splain to their customers how to run the machines.” Now I have something positive to say about some on-street equipment. San Rafael, CA, has instituted a policy of “escrow pay-


ments” for its parking meters. This means that if you park at, say, 7:30 a.m. and the payment requirement starts at 8 a.m., you can put your quarters in the meter at 7:30, but it won’t start deducting time until 8. Pretty fancy, huh. Local parking chiefMarkMiller tells me that the escrow or


prepay feature is being embraced by the community. He says, “I’ve been surprised at the level of interest in our community.” Hats off to Mark, and to POM, the manufacturer of the mechanisms that provide the feature.Well done.


Way to Go, Cleveland Last year, I ragged on Cleveland because they had securi-


ty problems in their downtown parking, and the parking opera- tors were doing little about it. I said that it was the operator’s responsibility to do something. Well, I’m not certain it’s because of my harangue, but they have. I won’t go into the details, but parking operators are


teaming with the city and paying for a couple more private patrols; adding telecommunications at all the lots; and gener- ally working together with the police to lower the crime rate. And they aren’t raising prices. Hats off to the Cleveland’s parking operators.Way to go,


team.


I Just Love It! A councilwoman inYonkers, NY, is demanding that all city


employees pay for parking. Does she have a death wish? Seems the city is requiring the library employees to pay $2


a day to park, and Councilwoman Joan Gronowski says that if some city employees have to pay, all have to pay. Library folks make from $6 to $15 per hour while some working in the City Hall make more than $100K. Of course, she is right. Everyone should pay for parking.


No argument here. Of course, when those $100k folks hear about this, they will immediately ensure that librarians park for free, so as not to change the rule for themselves. This line in The Journal News article caught my attention:


“Deputy MayorWilliam Regan, the Parking Authority chair- man, was unavailable for comment.”


You could have read these entries when they were originally post- ed at Parking Today’s Blog – and commented, if you liked – by logging on to www.parkingtoday.com and clicking on “blog.” JVH updates the blog almost every day.


PT


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