Parking in the News

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Akron Parking Deal Can't Be Duplicated in Cleveland, City Says

Cincinnati Riverfront Parking Rates Expected to Jump

ISU Proposes to Purchase Parking Garage

GW University, Zoning Commission disagree on parking garage placement

New Columbia Parking Garage to Open TuesdayVideoIcon

Indianapolis Installs New Plastic-Friendly Parking Meters

Sea Isle City Asks Tennessee Man to Pay Parking Ticket He Got 20 Years Ago

Mayor Bloomberg Says City Will Always Set the Rate for Parking Meters

Mill Valley Residents Buying Fewer Parking Stickers Than Expected

Finding the Perfect SpotVideoIcon

Old Parking Ticket? Hartford Offering Amnesty

New Parking Pay Terminals Expected for Parking Deck in Downtown Downers Grove

ASU Students Swipe Cards to Park

Police Crack Down on Cape Fear Students Causing Congestion to Find Parking

Downtown Medford Funds Hope to Spark New Business

Parking and Retail Structure to Replace Former Outlet Mall in Downtown Fort Worth

No More Free Parking In Leesburg Garage

Arlington Hts. Parking Officers Get Computers

Cranberry May Lower Parking Ticket Fines

Isle of Palms Residents Call for Parking Solutions

Downtown Hudson Parking Meter Rate Increased

Unum Occupies New 1,300-Car Parking Garage; Surface Lots To No Longer Be Free

LED Lights May Be Added to St. Edward's U. Garage

Walnut Creek to Continue to Study its Parking Problems

Cost of Parking Car in Bristol is Defended

As Scottsdale Business Picks Up, Parking Problems Return to Downtown

Parking Bill Stirs Tension Among Washington State Capitol Neighbors

Convenience at the Parking Meter Comes With a Convenience Charge in LexingtonVideoIcon

Indiana State University to Buy City Transit CenterVideoIcon

Cape May Works to Make Parking Meters a Little Less Confusing

Parking Meter Rates and Ticket Fines to Increase in East StroudsburgVideoIcon

Akron Parking Deal Can't Be Duplicated in Cleveland, City Says
The Plain Dealer
February 28, 2011

The city of Akron will begin this week offering a free hour of parking weekdays in its city-owned garages downtown in an effort to draw more people there and to free up spaces at meters.

Cleveland officials say they can't make the same offer. While Akron owns most of the parking garages and surface lots downtown, Cleveland has only three garages on the edge of its downtown.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said revenue received from the city's parking garages has been pledged to make debt payments on the bonds that were used to finance construction of the garages.

"We do not intend to implement that program," said spokeswoman Andrea Taylor. "If Akron is updating their program to meet their needs, that's their decision to make."

Taylor said the city already offers free parking at downtown meters after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. The parking garages -- Willard Park at City Hall and two garages at the Gateway complex -- are closed on weekends unless there is a need to use them for games or special events.

Cleveland also uses revenue from parking meters to help make debt payments on the bonds that were used to build the Gateway garages and rebuild Willard Park. While studies projected that the Gateway garages would receive enough business during the day to cover the debt, revenue there has typically covered only about half the amount needed for bond payments.

Councilman Zack Reed would like to see privately owned garages and lots offer discounts. Reed represents the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in southeast Cleveland but has sponsored legislation over the years for free on-street parking the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Whatever drives people to downtown Cleveland, we need to be doing," Reed said. "It should give us an opportunity to have conversations with those individuals to see if they're willing to drive people to downtown Cleveland."

Councilman Joe Cimperman, whose ward includes downtown Cleveland, likes the idea of giving away an hour of parking at the Gateway garages, but he added, "There are some different components between Cleveland and Akron."

He said he would encourage the city to try such a program only if the benefit from higher tax receipts exceeds revenue lost from parking fees.

Cimperman thinks the city needs to conduct a parking study, given that demand for parking will rise once downtown projects like the casino and medical mart are completed.

People who park in the more than 6,000 spots along the riverfront which are owned by Hamilton County could soon be paying more - up to $20 more for monthly parkers or up to $3.50 more for daily parkers.

And another hike is planned for 2013, according to the county plan. But for now, Hamilton County commissioners must set the parking rate for the rest of this year and for 2012.

Cincinnati Riverfront Parking Rates Expected to Jump
Sharon Coolidge / The Cincinnati Enquirer
February 28, 2011

If rates go up, people will pay an average of $90 a month and $7.48 a day to park in a county-owned garage; surface parking lots will cost an average of $61 a month and $4.99 day.

Some parkers weren't happy to hear the news of a rate increase.

"I'm thinking Metro just picked up a new rider if the monthly rate goes up by $20," said Kelly Hardin of College Hill.

The county owns about a quarter of the surface lot spaces downtown, and about 18.5 percent of the garage spaces downtown.

Even with the hikes, the county won't make any money on parking. In fact, county officials said over the next seven years the county will lose a minimum of $1.5 million a year on parking.

That deficit will be covered by the already ailing fund that pays for the county's two professional sports stadiums and riverfront development.

Despite that, interim Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman says it's worth subsidizing downtown parking to have a vibrant entertainment district.

Sigman brought the rate hike to commissioners at Monday's staff meeting.

The three Hamilton County commissioners must approve the increase.

"The rates were going to go up either way, but the amount of our recommendation is guided by amount of the loan," Sigman said. "It's still way below the market rate."

The $20,000 parking study determined the average monthly garage parker currently pays $133 and $10.53 a day downtown. (For county-owned lots, the average monthly garage parker pays $69; daily parkers pay $4.35.)

The average monthly parker in surface lots downtown pays $80 a month and $5.21 a day, the consultants found. (For county-owned lots, the average monthly parker in surface lots pays $52; daily parkers pay $3.38.)

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune complained the price increases are coming on the heels of rising gas prices.

"The dollars we're talking about are not insignificant to people who are just making ends meet," he said. "I think we have an obligation and responsibility to be very cautious in considering any rise in parking at this time."

Commissioner Greg Hartmann was absent from Monday's meeting and Commissioner Chris Monzel did not comment during Sigman's presentation.

The last rate increase came in 2007. County administrators recommended commissioners raise rates by $10 per month. The board voted to raise them just $5.

The current rate increase comes in conjunction with the county having to pay back a 2009 $10 million loan from the state that was used to build the parking garage attached to The Banks.

The county contracts with Central Parking to run the garage and lots, which was done through a bidding process.

At the same time the county is overhauling how people pay for parking. It's going from a weekday operation in which you pay when you enter, to a 24/7 parking operation in which people will pay at the end of their stay.

There will also be valet parking for venues at The Banks. That cost has yet to be determined.

On game days, the teams set the parking amount and get the revenue, per their leases.

County administrators want to have the rate increase in place before baseball season and the opening of The Banks.

ISU Proposes to Purchase Parking Garage
Travis Cowan / Indiana Statesman
February 28, 2011

Indiana State University will seek approval from local and state legislative bodies for the purchase of the Cherry Steet parking garage from the city of Terre Haute.

The quest for federal approval follows authorization of the proposal by the ISU Board of Trustees in their Feb. 18 meeting.

The purchase, which is not to exceed $4.85 million, needs to be approved by the Terre Haute Board of Public Works, the regional office of the Federal Transit Authority, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the State Budget Committee.

Diann McKee, vice president of business affairs, said that ISU would finance the project through a combination of short-term borrowing and long-term debt financing.

The 626-space structure was built in 2008 for $16 million, with $8.9 million of the budget acquired from federal grants. It replaced an ISU-owned parking lot that had approximately 200 spaces. Currently, ISU leases half of the garage's spaces.

"I advocated, along with other folks in the downtown community, that we find a way of collaborating with ISU…to secure grant opportunities to build a facility like the Cherry Steet Multimodal Facility," Cliff Lambert, executive director of the Terre Haute Department of Redevelopment, said.

The university and the city secured these grants in collaboration with former Sen. Evan Bayh, Sen. Dick Lugar and former Rep. John Hostettler.

ISU has leased the land the garage is on to the city for a 40-year period at the cost of $1 per year. The city of Terre Haute will retain its lease on the transit portion of the facility-where the city bus system is located-for 35 years. At the end of the lease the entire facility will revert to ISU's possession.

ISU has not had exclusive rights to the parking garage because the federal funding used to offset the construction costs demanded that it be made available to the public through the city of Terre Haute.

"Some of those restrictions prevented our collaborative partner, ISU, in utilizing the facility to the degree and with the flexibility that, one, they desired and two, I believe, they legitimately needed," Lambert said.

President Daniel J. Bradley said the College of Business' move to the former federal building in Fall of 2012 will increase the need for parking spaces in the southeast section of campus, which the multimodal facility will accommodate.

"We'll be doing what we can to make sure the garage is fully used," Bradley said.

With the purchase of the lot ISU will have a greater range in its use, but the FTA will continue to require public parking to be available in the facility.

"We're working through that process with the FTA right now," Lambert said. "They are very supportive of our need and our desire."

GW University, Zoning Commission Disagree on Parking Garage Placement
Priya Anand / The GW Hatchet
February 28, 2011

The University submitted alternate designs for the Law Learning Center parking garage to the D.C. Zoning Commission last week, after the body delayed a vote on the project and requested GW explore other entry options.

Zoning commissioners asked the University to consider placing the parking garage's entrance on G Street, citing concerns regarding pedestrian safety and traffic flow. GW originally presented plans to access the garage via an existing alley between 20th and 21st streets.

Square 103 - the garage's site - is located next to the restaurant Tonic and behind Potomac Hall.

The original alley entrance for the garage is the most suitable location for vehicles to access the structure, the University said in a post-hearing statement to the commission.

A G Street entryway for the structure would be placed at the northeast corner of the lot because of District Department of Transportation guidelines, according to the post-hearing statement submitted by the University.

That entrance placement would also cut part of a planned green space.

The statement also said a University traffic expert concluded that a G Street garage entrance would not necessarily improve vehicle access and would adversely impact pedestrians.

For safety reasons, the statement said, GW is proposing widening the alley from the proposed 16 feet in the original plan to 20 feet.

The University will face the Zoning Commission March 14 for a public meeting on the project.

New Columbia Parking Garage to Open Tuesday
Mimi Nguyen / KOMU-Columbia
February 28, 2011
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Columbia's newest downtown parking garage will open Tuesday. The 10-level garage between 5th and 6th streets features more than 700 parking spots. Of those, 120 will be used for hourly parking, and more than 500 spots are for permits.

The Columbia Police Department has reserved 48 spots.   The garage will have cameras and emergency phones for security, as well as an entire level reserved for retail space.

The Tuesday opening is a few months behind schedule due to weather delays.

View Video News Story

Indianapolis Installs New Plastic-Friendly Parking Meters
Indy News Channel 6
February 27, 2011

This week the city of Indianapolis will begin the first phase of a controversial plan to revamp its parking meters.

Crews will begin installing new state-of-the-art parking meters that accept credit and debit cards as well as cash, 6News' Myrt Price reported.

The new meters will be installed throughout downtown and in Broad Ripple, and many drivers are looking forward to them.

"I've gotten parking tickets before. Now, I can just use my card and I won't get a parking ticket," said Fronda Fisher.

"That's a really good idea (to use) the debit cards because no one ever has cash on them," said Christine Peacock.

However, along with the new meters come higher prices. The current rate of 75 cents will be raised to $1 per hour to park. The hours of operation will also be extended to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

While the plastic-friendly meters may seem convenient, some drivers aren't too excited about the changes.

"I don't like the extended hours," said Amy Laker.

Other drivers can't wait to see the new parking meters on the streets.

"I think it's a good idea," said Fisher.

Although business owners worry the higher prices and extended hours of operation may keep people from coming downtown, several drivers disagree.

"I don't think it will make people change their habits that much, I really don't," said Laker.

"We have it relatively good compared to other cities. I don't love it but I understand," said Alan McGuire.

When the second phase of the project begins, rows of meters will be replaced with pay boxes. In the third phase, meters will be replaced in residential areas.

City officials said the money generated from the meters will be used to improve area infrastructure, such as roads and sidewalks.

Sea Isle City Asks Tennessee Man to Pay Parking Ticket He Got 20 Years Ago
Michael Miller / The Press of Atlantic City
February 26, 2011

Parking tickets and fines may fade like a summer tan in the minds of New Jersey shore visitors who stuff them into glove boxes on their way home from vacation.

But they rarely just go away, as one Tennessee man learned this month.

Robert Cochran, 53, recently got a letter from Sea Isle City Municipal Court at his home near Knoxville. The postmark puzzled him, because he had not been to Sea Isle in more than 17 years, and when he opened it this month, the tax consultant found a big surprise.

"Please be aware that a warrant has been issued for your arrest for an unanswered summons. To avoid embarrassment or your impending arrest, please report to the Police Department immediately to post a bond. You'll be notified of your court date," the letter read.

The summons was from an unpaid traffic ticket that was written Aug. 23, 1991, the summer he shared a home in Sea Isle City with some friends from New York. Cochran tried to recall how he got the ticket, but the details have faded over the decades.

"I had a beach house there. It's August, so it must have been toward the end of the season. The ticket says it was issued at 4:50 p.m. I must have borrowed a friend's car to make a beer run," Cochran said.

Police cited him that day for driving an unregistered motor vehicle. The fine was $66.

In the 20 years that have passed, Cochran has moved from state to state: Pennsylvania to Maryland to Texas to Tennessee, where he lives with his daughter.

His first reminder of the infraction from his youth was when Sea Isle sent him the notice this month. Cochran called the city's Violations Bureau, which explained that it pursues all summonses, old and new.

"This is a bit absurd," Cochran said. "If you got a ticket as a teenager in Sea Isle City, you could be collecting Social Security and have it come back to haunt you?"

Sea Isle City Court Administrator Carol Fusco said that while vacationers might have long forgotten their youthful trespasses in the resort, the city has not. New Jersey has a five-year statute of limitations on most felonies, apart from murder or manslaughter. In most cases, prosecutors must file charges against a suspect within a year of a misdemeanor.

"A lot of people ask that question. There's no statute of limitations on unpaid tickets. It stays open until it's disposed of," Fusco said.

David Stefankiewicz, a criminal lawyer with a practice in North Wildwood, said he has handled several similar cases in his career.

"It's not at all uncommon in shore towns. The kids come into town, get in trouble, forget about it," he said, adding that courts are usually reasonable about helping the defendant resolve the outstanding ticket. "The court is as anxious to close these cases as anyone else. This file had to be sitting around for 20 years," he said.

But some judges have taken a hard line on these cases, forcing defendants to make a court appearance, Stefankiewicz said.

"I don't know how much justice is being meted out on a 20-year-old beach curfew violation," he said. "And unless the police officer was the Amazing Kreskin, there is no way the state could prove any of these cases. I'd be skeptical a police officer could come in 20 years later and say, 'I remember that guy. He was playing his radio too loud and the song was from Cheap Trick.' It's sublime, and it can become ridiculous."

Fusco said the city's Violations Bureau is in perpetual pursuit of hundreds of scofflaws who have not paid outstanding parking or traffic tickets, drunk-and-disorderly fines and other offenses. Cochran said he assumed the city, like others in cash-strapped New Jersey, was resurrecting old cases to wring more money out of tourists during a budget crisis.

"If they know Sea Isle City will track them down 50 years from now for unpaid parking tickets, it makes the city look like fools," he said. "All it's doing is giving the state bad publicity."

But Fusco assures him that is not the case.

"We're just doing our job. It is court procedure to process tickets that are outstanding," she said.

So will Cochran own up to his long-forgotten transgression and pay the $66 fine?

"Pay it? No," he said. "It would be one thing to pay it a year later. But 20 years later? Give me a break."

Mayor Bloomberg Says City Will Always Set the Rate for Parking Meters
Jonathan Lemire / NY Daily News
February 26, 2011

The city  is still going to decide how much you need to feed the meter.

Mayor Bloomberg insisted Friday that while an outside consultant may recommend the city sell off its parking meters, the government will remain in charge of setting the prices.

"We're not going to turn over the rights to set parking rates or collect the fines," said Bloomberg on his radio show. "But installing or maintaining equipment, there's nothing magical about that."

The city is trying to hire an economic adviser who can help maximize the efficiency of city-owned meters and increase revenue.

Hizzoner insisted that the city would not sell off its infrastructure for a one-time jolt to the government's coffers.

"We're not going to sell assets in return for money we'd spend on balancing the budget," Bloomberg scoffed to John Gambling on WOR 710 AM. "That's terrible."

City officials said New York would not follow the example of Chicago, which sold its meters to a private company in 2009 for $1.2 billion. That company immediately jacked rates, sending meter prices skyrocketing from 75 cents to $5 in parts of the Windy City's downtown.

Columbus Ready to Sell Prepaid Cards for Parking Meters
Robert Vitale / The Columbus Dispatch
February 26, 2011

Coins will move further into Columbus' parking-meter past next week when the city begins selling prepaid cards in values up to $100.

They'll go on sale Tuesday at the Department of Public Service office at 109 N. Front St., Room 301; or at the parking-violations office at the new auto-impounding lot near Haul Road and Rt. 104 on the South Side.

The cards will work in the city's new meters, which also accept credit cards and coins. Nearly 1,000 meters have been installed in the Arena and Brewery districts, along Gay Street and Grandview Avenue, and in the Short North.

Rechargeable cards can carry up to $50, while nonrechargeable cards can be bought in values of $25, $50 or $100.

Mill Valley Residents Buying Fewer Parking Stickers Than Expected
Will Jason / Marin Independent Journal
February 26, 2011

Several months after overhauling the city's downtown parking rules, officials in Mill Valley are weighing their response to lower-than-expected parking revenues.

Last June the City Council implemented weekend parking meter enforcement for the first time and raised meter rates from 50 to 75 cents per hour. It also approved a trial sticker program allowing Mill Valley residents to pay a flat fee to park without feeding meters.

Halfway through the trial program, sticker permit sales have fallen short of expectations. The city expects to bring in $75,000 from sticker sales in the first year, about 11 percent short of its initial projection of $84,000.

"It is a little bit lower than expectations but it is right there in the zone," said Mill Valley police Lt. Ken Dunkel, who oversees the city's parking enforcement. "I think is going well."

Revenues from parking meters and fines have also seen declines. From July through January, parking meter revenues were $140,475, down 22-percent compared with projections. From July through December, fine revenues dropped 33 percent below projections to $77,470.

The city expected some decline in meter and fine revenues as more drivers used permits, but it is not clear what caused the sharp-than-expected drops, Dunkel said. Unexpected factors include injuries to the city's parking enforcement officers, which have limited enforcement.

Mayor Ken Wachtel said the council would consider potential changes including offering stickers to drivers who live outside Mill Valley. But first, it will seek more data on downtown parking trends.

"The revenue is down, and we don't really know right now whether revenue is down because fewer people are parking, or because a greater number of people are parking with the (permit) sticker," he said.

An informal survey showed that at any given time, an average of 41 of the city's 400 metered parking spaces are occupied by vehicles with stickers. The city will now track parking by all vehicles, Dunkel said.

Mill Valley's parking enforcement program is designed to be self supporting but its primary purpose is to generate turnover at downtown parking spaces, not to make money, Dunkel said.

"Although we don't want to be costing the city - with parking enforcement we want it to pay for itself - it is not all about revenue," he said. "It is about the balance of keeping our citizens happy and keeping our businesses happy."

The recent parking changes have received mixed reviews from downtown store owners, who mostly support the sticker program but say weekend enforcement has hurt business.

"The sticker program, I'm sure it helps," said Mili Madjidi, who owns "Mili," a women's clothing store. "It's just a new thing and people have to get used to it."

Danielle Schubert, co-owner of Mill Valley Hat Box, a hat shop, said she has seen a negative impact from the weekend meter enforcement.

"We lose sales all the time because of it," she said. "A lot of times people will say they need to go feed the meters again and"...they don't end up coming back."

Finding the Perfect Spot
Miguel Marquez / ABC News
February 26, 2011

Old Parking Ticket? Hartford Offering Amnesty
Steven Goode / The Hartford Courant
February 25, 2011

If you're among the 35,000 or so people who have skipped out on paying a city parking ticket in the last five years, now's the time to clear your conscience.

Starting Tuesday, and for all of March, the city and the Hartford Parking Authority are allowing anyone with unpaid tickets a chance to pay the original fine - usually $25 - without having to pay any additional penalties, which can bring the total cost as high as $114.

"People can pay the principal amount and the penalties and fees would be dismissed," Mark McGovern chief executive officer of the Hartford Parking Authority, said Friday. "It could save them a lot of money."

McGovern said the city is hoping to take in about $200,000 from the program, which hasn't been done in Hartford before.

McGovern said notices about the amnesty program will be mailed to people with outstanding tickets. Anyone with an outstanding parking ticket can pay their fine by mail or in person at the authority's offices.

Unpaid tickets represent millions of dollars of potential revenue for the city.

"In the last 15 years, we have 265,000 unpaid tickets totaling $18 million," McGovern said, although he pointed out that about 70 percent of the 90,000 tickets issued annually are paid.

McGovern said the amnesty program is modeled after successful efforts in Houston, Shreveport, La., and Lexington, Ky.

It could also allow multiple offenders to avoid a tow or other harsher penalties.

The city will tow vehicles with five outstanding tickets. It also notifies the state Department of Motor Vehicles about offenders with six or more tickets, which prevents them from renewing their car registration.

New Parking Pay Terminals Expected for Parking Deck in Downtown Downers Grove
Downers Grove Reporter
February 25, 2011

The village will vote March 1, on whether to spend $53,320 on four new parking pay terminals for the downtown parking deck.

The devices will be able to process credit card payments in real time and allow people to pay via blackberries, iPhones and other smart phones.

And along with other technological updates like brighter screens and alerts when someone is tampering with them, the machines will also be able to hold more money.

The new machines are to replace machines that were installed in 2004. The village says the old machines are outdated technologically and functionally.

ASU Students Swipe Cards to Park
Casey Rinaldi / Arkansas State Herald
February 24, 2011

Parking on campus could be getting a little less frustrating for some, as Parking Services has begun accepting students' Express Dollars at the North Parking Gate.

"We are providing as many payment options as possible to our students to increase convenience, as any form of payment offered at our payment stations is very simple," said David R. McKinney, director of parking services.

This new method of payment, which began being offered approximately two weeks ago, has increased the total number of payment options to a total of three: credit card, cash and now Express Dollars.

Express Dollars are money that can be placed on a student's account and used at various places on campus.

Students can also decide both how much they want to pay and how long they wish to park at their designated spots in the garage.  Express Dollars will be accepted at any of the garage's four designated payment stations, which were replaced by Student Affairs in order to accommodate the new payment method.

"This will allow students to make non-cash payment without incurring a credit card charge,' McKinney said.

Sheryl Puckett, of Student Account Services and the Campus Card Center, said ASU is looking to expand the use of Express Dollars to more than simply meal plans and parking payments.

"In addition to their current use at the Red Wolf Center, we are looking into allowing students to use Express Dollars at the cashier window, and we are always looking for additional off-campus merchants, such as Cici's Pizza, McAlister's Deli, the Wolf Bookstore and gas stations such as University Market Valero, which will be set up within the next few weeks," she said. "We are also looking into allowing online payments to the accounts, as well as allowing students to check their balances electronically."

Puckett also noted that she has noticed a large increase in students paying for their parking expenses with their Express Dollars since the program was recently implemented.

Police Crack Down on Cape Fear Students Causing Congestion to Find Parking
Ashlea Kosikowski / WECT News 6
February 24, 2011

Wilmington Police are cracking down on students who are causing traffic tie-ups near the campus of Cape Fear Community College.

Officers said the student parking deck at the corner of Nutt and Red Cross Streets fills up quickly; once it does, the gate will only allow one car in at a time.

Police said students will park on the street in order to wait for a spot to open up in the deck. Lieutenant George Perkins said this causes dangerous driving conditions because some drivers will cross the double yellow line to get around the congestion.

Officers have been passing out warnings to students over the past week. Perkins said after one warning, a driver could receive a citation.

The college has sent a letter to students to let them know that police are cracking down on the problem.

Students said they are frustrated with the parking situation.

Approximately 3,000 students are at the downtown CFCC campus at the busiest class times during the day.

There are a total of 1,100 on-campus parking spaces downtown, including 400 in the deck at Nutt and Red Cross Streets.

Police said this is a short-term problem. CFCC's new Union Station parking deck is expected to open in September. It will have 1,200 spaces.

Downtown Medford Funds Hope to Spark New Business
Ramses Alvarez / KTVL-TV
February 24, 2011

Parking and Retail Structure to Replace Former Outlet Mall in Downtown Fort Worth
Sandra Baker / The Star-Telegram
February 24, 2011

Dallas-based Spire Realty Group said Thursday that it plans to demolish the former outlet mall at City Place in downtown Fort Worth and replace it with a parking structure with shops and restaurants on the street level.

Spire Realty on Wednesday closed its deal to buy the 1.2-million-square-foot City Place, the former Tandy Corp. headquarters. It bought the twin, 20-story office towers and associated retail space between them, along with a parking garage to the north, under the entity Throckmorton FW, according to deed records.

The developers will also renovate One City Place, the south tower, as office space, but haven't been decided yet if that work will be done at the same time as the parking and retail structure, said Jon Ruff, Spire's vice president.

Spire Realty expects to begin work within 24 months, Ruff said.

"We've wanted to be a part of the community for some time," Ruff said. "Our plan is to be there for a long time."

The new structure will feature a "vibrant plaza" to provide cohesiveness between the two office towers, as well as capitalize on existing activity from the neighboring Sundance Square entertainment, retail and office development, Ruff said.

The previous retail space, along with its popular ice rink, was gutted several years ago.

RadioShack, formerly Tandy Corp., in 2001 sold the property to Dallas-based PNL Cos., which renamed it City Place. PNL refurbished the north office tower, which is now 82 percent leased.

The south tower, however, has been vacant since RadioShack moved out in 2005 to a new corporate campus along the Trinity River a few blocks north. PNL planned an ambitious condo project for the building, but halted those plans in 2008 in the wake of the nation's credit woes. PNL then put the property up for sale a year ago.

PNL also had planned to demolish the central retail block, intending to restore Second Street between Taylor and Throckmorton streets. Ruff said Spire's plan for retail and parking in that area does not include a through street.

Tandy Corp. built the landmark towers in 1976 and 1978. The towers, ice rink and retail area opened in sections beginning in 1976. Tarrant County bought RadioShack's Technology Center, just across Taylor Street, from City Place in 2001.

No More Free Parking In Leesburg Garage
Kara Clark / Leesburg Today
February 24, 2011

After extending a holiday free parking promotion in the Town Hall garage in an effort to garner feedback on the program's effectiveness, and continue the gesture of goodwill to downtown businesses and shoppers, the Town Council decided Wednesday night that enough was enough.

Councilman David Butler originally proposed the extension of the holiday parking promotion through the night Town Manager John Wells presented his proposed FY12 budget, which occurred Wednesday. Although Butler put forward another motion last night to extend the program yet again, this time through the end of April to align with the potential adoption of the FY12 budget, he received only the support of Vice Mayor Kevin Wright and Councilwoman Katie Hammler.

Prior to the vote, Butler said in a perfect world he would like to see the parking in the garage to remain free indefinitely.

"I've heard from a number of residents that this has been successful," he said. "They like the idea of just being able to go downtown and not have the cumbersomeness of going in and out, being charged and having to figure out which entrance to go in."

Wright said he thought it was best to extend it because Wells' upcoming departmental budget line items, to be presented March 8, will include further discussion about parking garage fees. The town manager said this week he would be proposing extending paid parking requirements to nights and weekends, period when fees have not been charged previously.

"I don't think parking being a moving target is going to help us. I would not want to have this up and down of what's going on until we make a final decision," he said. "We need to make a lasting decision instead of a roller coaster ride for the public."

But Councilman Tom Dunn contended that extending the free program yet again would just confuse the public more.

"By extending it another two to three months it gives a sense of permanency to that," he said. "It may not have effect we want when we start charging," for parking again.

Mayor Kristen Umstattd also pointed out continuing free parking means a loss of revenue for the town.

"We have a town asset that can bring in revenue and we're not allowing it to do that which means there is a burden on the taxpayers and we're proposing to extend that burden," she said. "I just can't agree that this is a fiscally prudent way to go."

Arlington Hts. Parking Officers Get Computers
Deborah Donovan / The Daily Herald
February 24, 2011

Catching parking violators in downtown Arlington Heights should be a lot easier this spring.  The village board approved Monday the purchase of hand-held computers and mobile printers for parking enforcement officers. The $45,013 cost will come from funds seized in criminal cases.

Now, officers check for parking violators by chalking tires in parking zones that are limited to two hours, said Cmdr. William Newman. If a car hasn't moved during the time limit, a ticket is issued.

With the new system, the officer will type license plate numbers into the hand-held computer. When he or she returns after the deadline, the current plate numbers are typed in, and any cars that have been there too long are ticketed.

The system also includes mobile printers and software that helps check the village's list of cars eligible to be immobilized because they have five or more outstanding parking tickets. When a car has 10 unpaid tickets the Secretary of State will suspend the owner's driving license.

Newman said he hopes to have the new equipment for the five civilian officers by May 1.

Cranberry May Lower Parking Ticket Fines
Karen Kane / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 24, 2011

Ask a Cranberry police officer how many parking tickets he's issued and the answer is likely to be "none."  But that could change beginning March 3.

It's not that there isn't the occasional parking violation in the township now, said public safety director Jeff Schueler. "It's that the officers can't bring themselves to issue the citation because they know it would cost [the recipient] too much money."

Currently, the only citation in the township's arsenal is a state citation for any and all parking violations, and each one carries a $50 fine, plus court costs and handling fees. "You're talking about a bill approaching $100," Mr. Schueler said.

And while the police department doesn't want to write tickets that cost residents that much money, Mr. Schueler said, officials agree that some sort of deterrent needs to be on the books, especially because of problems that arise in winter, when people park on streets where parking is prohibited.

"It can get really troublesome with the snow plows," Mr. Schueler said.

Township supervisors unanimously agreed Feb. 3 to advertise an ordinance that would set the penalty for a parking violation at $25. A vote on the proposed ordinance is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 3 during a public meeting in the Rochester Road municipal center.

Mr. Schueler said he anticipates that first-time offenders will be warned.

Although the township generally restricts on-street parking, he said, police will "try to be considerate" when the department is notified in advance of a resident holding a party that will require visitors to park on the street.

He said the police department doesn't intend to go from neighborhood to neighborhood, looking for violators. "I'm expecting it will be on the basis of responding to a complaint,'' he said.

Isle of Palms Residents Call for Parking Solutions
Prentiss Findlay / The Post and Courier
February 24, 2011

How to have ample beach visitor parking and peaceful neighborhoods was a hot-button issue Wednesday night at a public hearing that drew a standing-room-only crowd.

The current way of managing parking on the island drew little support from more than 20 speakers who addressed the issue. Some residents complained that beach visitors change clothes and urinate in public. They said daytrippers toss diapers, beer cans and other trash into yards.

"Our neighborhoods are parking lots," said Ocean Boulevard resident Dick Watson.

Pay parking for more than 500 cars is available in the business district, but many visitors fan out into residential areas where the parking is free.

"The people who come on this island don't care about people who live on this island," said Mike Tidwell, who lives near Breach Inlet. He said parking laws are enforced "whimsically."

The concerned residents addressed the Planning Commission at a gathering of more than 100 people crowded into City Council chambers.

In July, 1 million drivers made a round trip to IOP, which translates to 500,000 vehicles needing a place to park, town officials said. The 3.5-square-mile community has about 5,000 year-round residents.

"I'm one of the dreaded daytrippers," said Kent Prause of Awendaw.

Prause said the General Assembly has not provided enough beach access, which has created parking issues in neighborhoods. Prause, a surfer, said he favored more public parking on public streets.

Most of the speakers were residents who suggested that it was time for the Planning Commission and City Council to aggressively tackle the issue.

"Don't be afraid to act. Whatever you do you're going to be criticized," Tidwell said.

Some residents suggested a multi-story parking garage in the business district. Others said it was time to charge for parking on a 20-block stretch of Palm Boulevard where visitors are allowed to leave their cars. That could generate revenue for cleanup of left-behind day-tripper trash, proponents argued.

One resident suggested smaller parking lots for 10 cars with restrooms scattered throughout the island.

The Planning Commission is addressing the parking issue as part of an update of the island's five-year comprehensive plan. At the forefront of nearly every issue facing the island is how to deal with the influx of beach traffic, officials said.

The problem is only expected to get worse because of the growth of Mount Pleasant. And Sullivan's Island is considering charging for parking and creating residential parking permits. Isle of Palms residents worry that that will drive even more visitors onto the already crowded island.

Options the Planning Commission will consider include opening Ocean Boulevard to parking, residential district parking passes and running a trial payparking area on Palm Boulevard. Commission parking recommendations will go to City Council, which will decide how to handle the situation.

Downtown Hudson Parking Meter Rate Increased
Randy Hanson / Hudson Star-Observer
February 23, 2011

Visitors to downtown Hudson will soon be paying 50 cents per hour to park at metered spaces.

The City Council doubled the current rate for parking (25 cents per hour) by a 4-2 vote Monday night.

Alderpersons Mary Yacoub, Randy Morrissette, Scot O'Malley and Rich Vanselow voted for the increase.

Council President Lori Bernard and Lee Wyland wanted a plan drafted for how the additional revenue will be spent before raising the rate. They voted against the increase.

The purpose of the increase is to generate more money to develop new parking facilities.

Yacoub, a member of the Public Safety Committee, proposed the increase after meeting with downtown business owners and contacting 60 businesses for their opinions on the issue.

She said 20 of the businesses returned a questionnaire on the issue, and they were about evenly divided on whether it was a good idea to raise the rate.

Wyland said he agreed that an increase was needed to speed the collection for money for expanding parking, but that he also wanted to see a plan for how the money will be used.

He offered a motion asking Community Development Director Dennis Darnold and others develop a plan for expanding parking and setting meter rates.

The council divided 3-3 on Wyland's motion. Mayor Alan Burchill's tie-breaking vote defeated it.

Vanselow then moved to increase the meter rate immediately, and have Darnold return later with a downtown parking plan.

Prior to the vote, Darnold said it might make sense to increase the rate in some places, and leave it the same in others.

Bernard suggested that the council might be limiting Darnold's options by increasing all of the rates.

"Do we really think people are going to go searching for a quarter meter versus a 50-cent meter?" asked Vanselow. He said Hudson's rate is low compared to the $2 per hour Stillwater charges.

O'Malley said some employees of downtown businesses might.

Vanselow and Yacoub said the employers of those people should instruct them to park elsewhere.

After the meters are reprogrammed, the 50 cents will buy one hour of parking; 25 cents, a half hour; 10 cents, 12 minutes; and 5 cents, six minutes.

The council also raised the fine for the typical parking violation (staying too long in a space) from $5 to $7.

Unum Occupies New 1,300-Car Parking Garage; Surface Lots To No Longer Be Free
The Chattanoogan
February 23, 2011

Unum employees this week began occupying the huge new parking garage at the downtown campus, giving workers a direct connection via a skywalk to Unum offices.

The move also marked the end to the public's longtime free use of spacious Unum parking lots after work hours and on weekends.

Unum officials said Republic Parking will begin operating the lots as paid lots next Tuesday.

Mary Clarke Guenther, Unum spokesperson, said, "Republic Parking will begin management of the surface lots across Fourth Street on March 1. This will make about 600 spaces available for downtown parking."

She also said, In addition, on March 1, UTC's existing lease will be amended to include the parking lot on the corner of Lindsey and Vine streets, providing a bit more student parking for UTC.

"Unum will continue to use the parking lots along Georgia Avenue for the near future."

The new garage has space for 1,300 vehicles. It takes up an entire block - bounded by Walnut, Fourth, Cherry and Fifth streets.

A new traffic light was put in at Fourth and Cherry near an entrance/exit from the parking garage.

Unum officials said in 2008 they planned to sell 12 acres across Fourth Street for development after the garage was complete.

However, officials later said the lots would be leased.

It will no longer be necessary for Unum employees to cross busy Fourth Street.

Unum employee Susan Wood was on her way to work when she was struck and killed on Fourth Street on Dec. 23, 2009.

LED Lights May Be Added to St. Edward's U. Garage
Caroline Jones / Hilltop Views
February 22, 2011

There is no immediate problem with the lights in the parking garage, but they may undergo a makeover anyway. St. Edward's University is thinking about switching to LED lights to save money while also being environmentally friendly.

The main reason the university is considering the switch is that LED (light-emitting diode) lights might prove to be more cost-effective than the current lights used, Director of the Physical Plant Michael Peterson said.

"It looks like we can increase lighting levels and cut our energy costs in half," Peterson said.

Peterson also mentioned that the illumination levels of the current light fixtures in the garage, belonging to a compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) system, are beginning to degrade, and LED lights are supposed to outlast them.

Though the benefits of using LED lights reveal why they are being considered, neither the Physical Plant nor the University Police Department have received complaints about the efficiency of the lighting system already installed.

LED lights also present potential disadvantages, Peterson said. There is speculation about whether or not LED lighting pose any health and safety hazards for the installation and maintenance crew and garage users. The new system is also expensive to implement.

Switching to LED lighting was first considered last spring. The Student Government Association proposed legislation about the LED lights that never passed because it became too late in the year. The idea was introduced and how expensive the project would be, Vice President of SGA Noah Corn and Sophomore Sen. Leigh Anne Winger said.

SGA did not reconsider the legislation in the fall, as its author, senior Hannah Kurtzweil, did not request an extension to keep the initiative alive over the summer. Kurtzweil had run for SGA president in the spring and was defeated.

However, the Physical Plant recently decided to look into the usefulness of LED lighting. It will be meeting with two companies that sell light fixtures, Ringdale, Inc., and Cooper Lighting, to determine the payback time of installing the LEDs. The payback period is the length of time needed for the decrease in energy costs to cover the cost of installation.

"The [LED] lights respectively are expected, on average, to maintain a life of 90,000 hours and would give a six-to-seven-year payback without any Austin Energy rebates," Peterson said.

While the material costs for each light are estimated to be anywhere between $400-550 per unit, making the project costly, the LED lights will most likely outlast the existing 104 CFL lights that have begun to decline in quality. LED lighting has more than double the efficiency of CFLs, according to a New York Times article from May 2009.

LED lights turn on more quickly than CFL lights and, unlike CFLs, do not contain mercury, the New York Times article said. Because they also last longer than CFLs, they are considered safer for the environment.

LED lights may be environmentally friendly, but they may not be as people-friendly. A Feb. 9 Los Angeles Times article noted a study from the University of California-Irvine that found some colored LED lights contain lead, which is toxic to the human body. If these lights become damaged or broken, they could become harmful to anyone around them, including installation and maintenance crews and users of the parking garage.

However, only the entrance and exit signs to the garage use colored lights. The remainder of the garage uses white light, which does not have lead, according to the study.

Peterson said there are no set plans for when LED lights will replace the CFLs, as the Physical Plant is still determining the cost-efficiency of the project and how safe parking garage users will be. He is looking for student, faculty and staff input about the possible change.

Several students who were asked their opinion about the switch to LED lights either didn't have one or complained about the location of the parking garage.

"It's in an inconvenient part of campus," junior Irma Fernandez said.

Walnut Creek to Continue to Study its Parking Problems
Martha Ross / Walnut Creek Patch
February 22, 2011

Walnut Creek leaders have Ok'ed broad strategies to address the city's parking problem-or the perception that Walnut Creek has a parking problem

But don't worry, if you're a business worried about the suggestion to extend meter hours to 8 p.m. or to Sundays. At least, don't worry yet.

The strategies adopted by the Walnut Creek City Council and Transportation commission at a joint study session Thursday were broad. The council directed city staff to do more work on the viability of specifics, including extending the meter hours. More public hearings would follow as well.

The strategies came out 13 months' of study and meetings by the Downtown Parking Task Force over the highly complex-and sometimes emotional-issue of parking in Walnut Creek.

The third-floor conference room was packed for the study session with residents and business owners who wanted voiced both support for, and discontent with, the plans.

The goal of the task force is to make parking "work" in downtown Walnut Creek by creating a comprehensive parking management plan "that reflects the diverse needs of residents, businesses and visitors," City Councl member Kish Rajan has said. He was one of two council members on the task force.

Rajan said this sort of comprehensive plan has not been in place before.

None of the strategies, however, addressed issues that can be enforced by the city--such as businesses using up spaces in private garages for valet parking or the meter hours in private lots that are not consistent with city metre hours.

But while the council and transportation commission agreed to the broad strategies, the council directed city staff to do some more work on the viability of certain specifics. In addition to studying the possibility of extending the meter hours, the city also needs to look at if and how much it should raise prices at meters and garages, increase the time limit for meters in areas outside city's core downtown, and do away with the special event parking fee for Lesher Center events at the North Locust Street garages.

At Thursday's meeting seniors who use and volunteer at the senior club in Civic Park also learned that a plan they strongly oppose-a plan to install meters in Civic Park-is on hold. Senior club members expressed their outrage at last Thursday's meeting and in letters to City Hal about the plan.

"We are trying to keep some easy access to the senior center, said Lou Schrepel, president of the senior club. "They deserve some consideration.

The intent of putting meters into Civic Park-which was approved in the 2010-12 budget, was to manage crowded parking conditions at the lots there, made worse since the July opening of the new downtown library. Barry Gordon, director of Arts, Recreation and Community Services, said people have been using the Civic Park lots for parking at the library, rather than pay to park in the library's surface lot and underground garage, where library patrons are restricted to two-hour time limits. Gordon said the meters may eventually go in, but the city needs to explore ways to give senior club members and volunteers passes so they don't have to pay the costs of meters, which for some seniors on fixed incomes is a cost they can't afford.

The broad strategies, which council and transportation commission members approved, include finding better ways for motorists to use the public and private garages and for the city to better communicate parking options to motorists with, for example, better signage. Other strategies have to do with creating more effective management of parking for restaurant workers and others employed in downtown businesses, improving collaboration between the city and business leaders on parking and finding ways to encourage city residents to use their own downtown for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Extending the parking meter hours to 8 p.m. daily and to Sundays and possibly raising prices falls under the strategy of better managing control over the city's "parking inventory."

The city has more than 7,000 parking spaces  in downtown, most of which are in public and private garages and lots. Only a small percentage-about 8 percent-are on the street. A 2006 study commissioned by the city documented how  there is plenty of parking in downtown Walnut Creek. At peak times, on Fridays and Saturdays, 20 percent of those spaces in private and public garages are vacant.

Much of the problem with parking in Walnut Creek-or perception of a problem-rests on the fact that street spaces fill up at peak hours-lunchtime and evenings. The parking task force, citing the research of Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, found that the perception of parking scarcity occurs when more than 85 percent of parking spots are filled.

During its work, task force members also learned that thousands of employees come to work in Walnut Creek daily and a fair number of those, mostly restaurant workers on the night shift, take up street parking spaces. They pay enough to make it to 6 p.m. when the meter hours end, and then have the meter for the rest of the evening. The city woud like to find a way, possibly including incentives, to encourage employees to park in specified areas of public garages.

The suggestions of extending meter hours to 8 p.m. and to Sunday was met with wariness from business leaders, including representatives from the chamber and Downtown Business Association.

Paula Costa, a board member of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the task force, said some business owners, such as Bonnie Waters of Changes Day Spa and Salon, worried that charging for Sunday parking could hurt the bottom line, especially businesses and restaurants in the traditional downtown.

Restaurant owners have also expressed concern that their customers, arriving before 6 for dinner--and parking at a two-hour meter--won't be able to relax and enjoy their meal because they'll worry about  finishing before 8 p.m. so their meter won't expire.

Costa also pointed out that the city needs to seriously address the perception that extending meter hours or raising parking prices is strategy to earn revenue.

Task force members have said none of the strategies are designed to make more money for the city. Council members also point out that thecity uses parking meter revenue to pay for downtown improvement projects managed by the Downtown Business Association. Those projects, which also include marketing downtown, help improve business.

"It must be revenue-neutral and not be done so the city can make money," Costa said. "Saying so is just not good enough at this point."

Emily Chang of the Downtown Business Association expressed concern that the city is basing its strategies partly on results of the 2006 transportation study, which never looked at parking on Sundays. Also, the study was carried out at a time when the economy was "red hot." She urged the city to conduct another study but Rafat Raie, the city traffic engineer said another study could cost $100,000 and be unnecessary.

Both Costa and Chang voiced concern that the city was not properly informing the public about the proposed plan, but Mayor Cindy Silva said she thought the city had done plenty of communicating about the task force's work. She noted that the meetings were open to the public, and the onus should not just be on the city to get the word out.

Resident Tom O'Brien questioned why business groups were not doing a better job informing their own members about the parking problems and the need to encourage employees to park off the street. "You can solve some of this problem and make it a little better by your participation," he said.

Cost of Parking Car in Bristol is Defended
BBC News
February 21, 2011

The cost of parking in Bristol has been defended by a councillor after consumer organisation Which? named the city as one of the country's most expensive.

Gary Hopkins, the councillor in charge of transport, said he wanted to "encourage" people to use the bus.

"What we don't want is people who are driving in, parking all day and clogging up the city," he said.

But Bob Bull, from the Association of British Drivers, said he thought Mr Hopkins was on "another planet".

"The dearest car park I think I've ever come across in an ordinary city is the one off Rupert Street," he said.

"I think the times I've taken my mother to the eye hospital and there's nowhere to park outside and then it's £6.30 for two hours.

"If you think that's wonderful off-street parking then I think you're on another planet really."

Limited space

According to Which?, Bristol was named 10th behind cities such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Leeds.

Cheaper cities included Cardiff, Coventry, Birmingham and Southampton.

Mr Hopkins said Bristol had problems with limited parking space because of the layout of the city.

"Bristol by it's very geography is quite restricted, there is limited space, so we now have very good off-street parking for those who want to park for a couple of hours which is very secure and high-quality.

"We're actually cheaper than a number of other places," he added.

"It's easy to quote places which are cheaper and we're cheaper than Stoke-on-Trent as an example.

Commenting on the findings, Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Parking charges vary enormously up and down the country and people want to be clear about where they can park and how much it will cost them.

"But if there's one thing drivers hate more than paying high prices for parking, it's finding a parking ticket on their windscreen. If you think you've been unfairly ticketed, make sure you appeal."

As Scottsdale Business Picks Up, Parking Problems Return to Downtown
Edward Gately / The Arizona Republic
February 21, 2011

Lexi Sebastian regularly gets an earful from her customers about the lack of available parking outside her business, Celebrity Encore, on Fifth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale.

"There's no parking, so they go to the mall or somewhere else where there's parking," she said.

The winter tourist season - highlighted by numerous events and the Cactus League season at nearby Scottsdale Stadium - marks the busiest time of year for merchants in the downtown area.

However, many business owners along Fifth Avenue west of Scottsdale Road say a lack of available parking near their businesses is keeping customers away.

Public parking meant for customers is instead being used by students of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, at the Galleria Corporate Centre, as well as business owners and their employees, according to the merchants.

"I was talking to a customer the other day and they said, 'I'll drive by and just stop in to see what's new and what's going on, and if I can't find a parking space, I don't stop,' " said Donald Edwards, owner of the Estate Watch & Jewelry Co.

Grady Soine, who heads the Fifth Avenue Area Merchants Association, said what makes the area unique "as opposed to Scottsdale Fashion Square" is that people can find parking along the street. He is manager of the Angel Store & More on Fifth Avenue near Craftsman Court.

"If neighboring businesses and their employees, or culinary students, end up parking there, then that creates a problem, and it's not like this is a new phenomenon," he said. "This has been going on for quite some time. We would just please ask, because of the economy and the way it's going, that they would just stick to the game plan and just maybe walk a little farther and get some exercise."

Merchants and their employees are encouraged to park in the upper levels of the Fifth Avenue parking garage, west of Scottsdale Road between Third and Fifth avenues, Soine said. It has 409 spaces.

Downtown merchants must pay the city a fee to secure use of a minimum number of public parking spaces for their customers. The fee varies depending on the business size.

Brianna Huerta-Montoya, a culinary student who lives in Ahwatukee Foothills, regularly parks in front of businesses on Fifth.

"It's mainly just the time because I have to drive here from Ahwatukee, so I get here a little late sometimes," she said. "I just try to park as close as I can, but I do understand the whole inconvenience with customers. I haven't had anybody ask me not to park here, so that's why I kind of have kept doing it."

The college provides free, on-site parking for its students, according to Lloyd Kirsch, school president.

About 500 students attend the college's SkyBridge campus, on the northeastern corner of Scottsdale Road and Fifth Avenue, Kirsch said.

"Our classes are Monday through Friday with three shifts a day," he said. "What it breaks down to is you have probably a third of the students at any given time. We may have about 200 in the morning, 150 in the afternoon and 150 in the evening."

The college has arranged for 200 parking spaces at Galleria Corporate Centre for students and faculty, Kirsch said.

"Obviously, we wouldn't have any control over where our students park on the street, but we're going to stress the fact that we are part of the overall community," he said. "We know there are high seasons in Scottsdale, and we do want to help those businesses succeed."

Tom Combs, a culinary student who lives in Phoenix, said students are told during orientation and in class that the college provides parking, so "it's not a big mystery to know where you're supposed to be parking."

Dan Symer, senior city planner, said parking hasn't been an issue in recent years because the recession forced numerous merchants out of business in the area. Now that the area is rebounding, the issue is coming back.

"What it boils down to is the city cannot prohibit the public from utilizing the public parking," he said.

Although some people may have to walk farther than they would like, there is plenty of public parking available downtown, Symer said.

"In our worst-case scenario, which is a (spring-training) game day, we may be at 80 percent(parking) occupancy downtown," he said.

Leanne Simonson, owner of Purr-Suasions, said not only do culinary students park in front of her business at the Kiva Center on Fifth Avenue, but they also take up much of the space in the Fifth Avenue parking garage.

"We literally had to have a restricted sign in the back of our area because they were parking back there, too," she said.

Sebastian said customers of Celebrity Encore can't get anywhere near her store much of the time because the parking is all occupied by non-customers.

"This is consignment, they need to unload their clothes and items," she said. "You don't have a 70-year-old woman who is going to walk around with a bunch of shoes and handbags and things in her arms, and she can't get near your store."

Parking Bill Stirs Tension Among Washington State Capitol Neighbors
Brad Shannon / The News Tribune
February 20, 2011

The ongoing tug-of-war between state government and the historic South Capitol neighborhood took an unusual turn Friday.

Less than three weeks after the Olympia City Council bumped up overtime parking fines to as much as $110 a day in the South Capitol neighborhood, Republican Sen. Jerome Delvin of Richland introduced a bill to keep the city from limiting parking near the Capitol Campus to anything less than four hours.

Delvin, a 17-year veteran of the Legislature, called his Senate Bill 5830 "a shot across their bow" for the neighborhood.

"When I first came here, it seemed to work pretty well around here. You had four- or three-hour parking minimums. That's all I'm asking for - to have at least a four-hour minimum so people can park and go to committee hearings," Delvin said, noting that his 10 co-sponsors included Democrats and Republicans concerned about the problem for visitors.

Monday is the deadline for passing bills out of committee, so Senate Bill 5830 doesn't stand much chance, said Democratic Sen. Karen Fraser of Thurston County. Fraser carries clout as the Senate Democratic Caucus chairwoman and is a veteran in mediating among the city, state and neighborhood.

But the bill sure touches a nerve.

"It's quite a big surprise," Fraser said. "If this were to pass, it would basically destroy the residential and historical nature of the South Capitol neighborhood. … I think the (parking) issue is being handled well by (the Department of General Administration), the city and the neighborhood. This would just undermine everybody's working relationship."

As written, SB 5830 would let the city limit parking to no less than four hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, opening up the one-hour parking zones around the Capitol for the longer stays. The four-hour zone would extend 500 yards from eight large buildings on the campus - in all directions.

Butler estimated Delvin's zone would stretch more than four blocks south to 20th Avenue and the Frog Pond grocery, and more than two blocks north as far as Eighth or Ninth Avenue.

This would hurt the city's ability to preserve the character of the South Capitol neighborhood and interfere with businesses north of the Capitol that have street parking meant to help customers, Butler said.

The South Capitol Neighborhood Association has fought many battles over the years over state encroachment - targeting placement of portable buildings on campus, parking issues, lobbyist use of homes for businesses, and large projects such as the new Data Center east of the campus.

The association also has worked with the state and city to limit state parking overflow into the historic residential areas.

Jeanne Marie Thomas, the president of the neighborhood group, said South Capitol is "a nationally recognized historic district. Part of the reason for the recognition is the charming residential and historic nature of the entire district."

"It is the role of local government to protect and preserve historic districts through their local land-use planning. … It is acknowledged as such by the State of Washington," Thomas said, adding that she doesn't want to fight. "I just want to educate."

Despite efforts to limit overtime parking in the neighborhood, the city wrote 1,399 overtime parking tickets during last year's 60-day legislative session. The City Council followed that up last year by authorizing parking enforcers to write more than two tickets per day for violators who leave vehicles for long periods.

Then, on Jan. 18, the council voted unanimously to enact higher fines that took effect Feb. 1. The daily maximum fine went from $45 to $110 for prolonged infractions - or what the city calls "chain parking." The highest fine applies to those parking for a fifth hour in a one-hour zone, and Butler said it's too early to say what effect that is having.

But she did say parking and access to the Capitol Campus for visitors is first among the city's six legislative priorities this year - and it wants to put into practice the recommendations from a 2009 state parking study by General Administration.

GA spokesman Jim Erskine said the agency has been trying for years to address parking issues. More recently, it opened up a small lot east of the Natural Resources Building on the East Campus after the state bought the Professional Arts building. It also put up new signs to direct travelers to the campus and has opened other space on campus by requiring tour buses to park along Deschutes Parkway after delivering passengers at the Capitol.

Erskine conceded that those steps and others might not make up for all the parking spots lost with construction of the new Data Center east of the Capitol.

And Delvin conceded that his bill is symbolic and that he hopes it can start a discussion - even in a committee work session.

"The parking around here is confusing. And (constituents) end up coming here to lobby and meet with their Legislature and … getting a ticket," he said.

"I understand the neighborhood" concerns, Delvin added. But he compared Capitol Campus neighbors to people who "buy a house near the airport and then complain about the airport. … They live in the Capitol area. It's important that people have access to their legislators and not have to worry about going through a parking maze and then pay for a ticket."

Convenience at the Parking Meter Comes With a Convenience Charge in Lexington
Dave Spencer / WKYT-27
February 18, 2011
View Video News Story

LexPark executive director Gary Means says, it's something Lexington's Parking Authority has been looking at for two years now.

Offering customers a pay by phone method for the 1200 paid parking spots in Fayette County.

 Means says, "We've constantly tried to upgrade customer service and take this program from the '70's to the 2000's."

As a way to keep up with a mobile society that seems to rely on credit cards and cell phones, Means says it just made sense to offer people a way to pay with a phone call.

Here's how it works; Call the number on the meter itself, register your license plate number and credit card, then enter the 5 digit number of the space your parking in.

Means says you'll then be asked how many minutes you'd like and it charges your phone.

However, each phone call to paybyphone.com, who operates the system, cost the user 35 cents.

Means says neither LexPark nor the city profit from the venture.

Despite an additional charge most of the potential customers we spoke with say the pros outweigh the cons.

Drivers told 27 NEWSFIRST they like the fact they can call from a meeting or from inside a restaurant if the meter is about to expire and add additional time.

"Anything to prevent me from getting a ticket, I'm in favor of!" said one woman.

The meters will also still except quarters if people chose to use the time tested method.

View Video News Story

Indiana State University to Buy City Transit Center
Joe Astrouski / WTHI-TV Terre Haute
February 18, 2011

University to buy city transit center: wthitv.com

Cape May Works to Make Parking Meters a Little Less Confusing
Richard Degener / Press of Atlantic City
February 17, 2011

The city is improving its parking meter system around the Washington Street Mall and at two city-owned parking lots by adding paper receipts and the ability to accept bills.

The paper receipts are an attempt to reduce confusion, and in some cases outright anger, caused when the city first installed what are dubbed "multi-meter systems."

These are systems where there is not a meter at each parking space. Motorists go to a central area, usually a kiosk, and buy time for their numbered space. The problem was some could not figure the system out, did not pay properly and then ended up with a $32 parking ticket.

City Manager Bruce MacLeod said the city plans to install 12 new automated pay stations, ten at the mall and one each at the Jackson Street and Bank Street municipal parking lots, that will give out paper receipts motorists put in their dashboard.

MacLeod called it a "pay and display" system as opposed to a "pay by space" system.

"The customer gets a receipt and puts it in the dashboard on the vehicle. It gives them comfort that they successfully negotiated payment for the parking meter. Pay by space did not get a receipt," MacLeod said.

A second improvement is taking bills. The multi-meter systems already took coins and credit cards, but not bills. MacLeod said the mall units will take $1 bills while the two municipal lots will take $1, $5, and $10 bills. Motorists will be forewarned by signage that the meters do not give change for those bills. Each dollar buys one hour of parking and motorists should figure the time they need and put in the right amount.

"If they put in a $20 bill for 12 hours of parking they will not get $8 back," MacLeod said.

The meters are expected to be installed and in operation by May 1 when the meter season begins. The city had a demonstration at City Hall earlier this month to show them to the business community.

"I hope they work out as well as I think they're going to work out," said Councilman William Murray, who serves on the city's parking committee.

The city had already addressed the problem last year in some areas of town by bringing back individual meters for each space on some streets.

This followed numerous complaints from people who received parking tickets but thought they had paid or thought they did not have to pay since there was no meter at the space.

The city put some blame on the signage explaining the payment system sometimes being hidden by trees, while glare during the day and lack of instrument lighting at night further added to the confusion.

Parking Meter Rates and Ticket Fines to Increase in East Stroudsburg
Raegan Medgie / WNEP-16
February 16, 2011

 

 

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