The Bright Side
Although the convenience of a new parking kiosk (parking pay station) is being tested, the absolute requirement of this new system is that it works “all winter long”.
This feature could open the door for the city council to selectively charge for parking during the winter months, or for special events, and then to extend that to year-round paid parking. Also, entering a vehicle license instead of entering the parking stall number in the kiosk, opens the door to raising all parking rates to $2.00 /hour or to tying specific kiosks to specific parking stalls, or one will also have to enter the parking stall number. Knowing the monetary appetite of the city council, it becomes easy to see the force driving the replacement of the current parking kiosks.
Although reducing parking fines was listed as one of the potential benefits of the new system, it is important to note that when the current parking kiosks system was installed, the revenue from parking tickets dropped about $200,000. which is one of the reasons the parking rates had to be doubled to break even. Today, the cost to park downtown is about as high as the parking ticket fines were before the kiosks were installed. It’s like getting the visitors to pay the fine without out having to issue the parking tickets (that is a true convenience) and, of course, the cost of the parking tickets had to be doubled and redoubled to keep up with the parking rates. Revenue from parking is a major source of income for the city, but paying to park is also a deterrent to using the downtown, shopping at local stores, and it is a special inconvenience to visitors when it is raining and they have to go to a kiosk and stand in the rain to pay for the parking.
The “people’s parking queen” Sylvia Mullally would like your feedback on the temporary parking meters.
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