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Pay Boxes Modernize
ParkIndy launched another phase Monday in a plan to modernize parking in downtown Indianapolis with the debut of multi-space pay boxes.
The pay boxes went online for the first time Monday morning. Motorists will pay the same amount to use a pay box as a single space meter -- $1 an hour.
The boxes were installed and operational in the 300 block of Massachusetts. A motorist can enter a parking space number on a keypad at the box, with the parking space number posted on poles in front of the spot.
Customers can pay with coins or use a credit card. Time can be added or subtracted by using the plus and minus buttons on the box.
"It's nice to have something where it's telling you exactly what's going to be happening," said customer Doreen Tatnall. "This is cool."
ParkIndy has people on hand to walk the block to answer questions about the pay boxes this week. Business owners said they think the boxes will ensure spaces are used by customers instead of people who leave their cars in the same space all weekend long, 6News' Julie Pursley reported.
"There were some, I don't want to necessarily characterize it as abuse, but taking advantage of a free parking space," said David Andrichik, owner of the Chatterbox Jazz Club. "Now, there's a little incentive to go to the lot that you've paid for and free up that space."
Motorists can pay or add more time from any pay box in the city, so customers don't have to walk back to the original box to add more time.
"These pay boxes will all be integrated and will be able to talk to each other," said Lou Gerig, ParkIndy spokesman.
Officials said more enhancements will be on the way soon.
"If you are in an office building, and let's say you park your car here and you're at the top of one of these buildings, you can use your cell phone to … add time," Gerig said.
ParkIndy said it doesn't yet have a time line for phone pay. More pay boxes will be added this summer and fall, including some next week downtown and some in Broad Ripple.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio is scheduled to help The Cincinnati Zoo celebrate the installation of a solar panel canopy that will provide power for the facility.
Workers installed the $11 million canopy over a parking area that will provide shade for 800 of 1,000 parking spots available at the zoo's main entrance.
The zoo says the 1.56 megawatt canopy is the country's largest urban solar arrays accessible to the public.
The collection of 6,400 panels is designed to produce about one-fifth, or 20% of the energy the park needs to help control its electric bill, cutting about $1 million to $1.5 million over 10 years.
The zoo said that is enough energy to power 200 home each year and added there will be many days, sunny and cool, when the zoo is completely off the grid and sending power back to the utility.
Over the life of the project the zoo will realize millions of dollars in savings in electric bills.
"We believe that the combination of size and public accessibility makes this solar array the most impactful array of any in the entire country," said Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Facilities, Planning and Sustainability at the Cincinnati Zoo. "No where else has an array of this magnitude been placed in such an urban environment, allowing our visitors and the general public at large, to be able to see first hand what solar photovoltaic energy is all about. The education potential of this advanced energy project is off the charts."
The zoo also said all the major components of the solar canopy will be manufactured either locally, or in other locations within the United States to help promote economic growth. In addition, the project will fund 10 scholarships at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in their Green Workforce Development Program.
"As the greenest zoo in America ,there is no better place to showcase this technology and to help the public understand that not only is this technology the right thing to do for our energy future, but it makes absolute financial sense as well," said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo.
In an effort to continue to educate the zoo's visitors on Going Green, the solar array will also include an educational kiosk near the zoo's Go Green Garden that will allow visitors to learn about the performance of the array and benefits of solar energy in general.
Melink Corporation was the developer, designer, owner and operator of the project and was supported by PNC Bank, Uptown Consortium, First Energy Solutions, HGC Construction and others.
Sen. Portman is scheduled to join the zoo's executive director and other officials Monday to honor the project at a dedication ceremony.
Parking meters will start being installed downtown today, with system testing expected to be complete by the end of the month.
Fifteen digital meters, similar to the ones already in the city's two parking garages, will be placed on each block in the downtown area.
City manager Rod Swope said they will go from the Marine Park garage to the Capitol building, from Main Street to Franklin Street.
"When you pull in and park you must go up to the meter on that block and enter your license plate number," he said. "You put in how long you intend to park there."
The first two hours of parking will be free, and each hour after is $2.
"The other thing that's critical is you cannot park in a block, use two hours of free parking and then move on up to another block and use another free two hours of parking," Swope said. "Parking enforcement people can tell. That's why it's important, even if you don't intend to pay, to register your license plate."
Most of the parking meters will be on the corner of a block, on the outer edge of the sidewalk. Swope said some of them aren't going to be placed that way due to lighting and pedestrian flow concerns.
"All of them that we will be installing on the streets will run on solar power," Swope said. "Even with the limited amount of sunshine and light we get in summer and winter they will still function. Their batteries will operate them for up to eight months without any charge at all."
Swope isn't concerned with the placement of the meters for heavy winter snows.
"They'll just have to be careful," he said. "I'm told the things are bomb proof, basically, and that they're really tough."
He said that short of the plow hitting them and ripping them off their base, the meters will be fine.
Swope said they are also coated in special paint that makes them essentially graffiti-proof.
He's sure that will eventually be tested here, but the spray paint is supposed to wipe right off.
The total cost of the meters - including installation, software and support - is about $400,000. Installation will take place throughout this week. The city expects to have the meters "live" on May 23, with testing taking place in between.
Swope said there will be a kind of grace period for drivers once the system is launched.
"It's new and it's going to take people time to get used to it," he said. "I don't think it's fair to go out and start immediately issuing citations. It's been a long time coming. I think once people get used to it and get accustomed to using these, it will be a much more efficient and cost effective system."
The machines also will have the ability to allow customers to phone into a call center and purchase an extension to their parking time. Swope said it will cost 35 cents to use that feature and whatever amount a person would like to extend parking for. More information on how that system will work will be available later.
The parking meters are part of a larger plan to make downtown parking more efficient. The other part was the new Downtown Transportation Center.
Swope said the new garage and use of meters in both garages has been going well.
"It seems to be well used," he said. "The Legislature was very
pleased with being able to use the parking garage. It turned out to
be a nice facility."
"Right now we're going into a completely different dynamic downtown," he said. "Use of the two garages is going to change. We're likely to see a lot more use of the old downtown garage. We're not quite sure yet how that's going to affect the use of the new garage. We need to let that happen and at least let it play out for a month or two."
Sydney motorists are set to feel more pain, this time because of proposed parking charge increases from the Sydney City Council. The council plans to raise the cost of meter parking in the city's south from next month by $1, to $7 an hour.
Charges for council-owned car parks will also increase, to $8 an hour. The director of city operations for the council, Gary Harding, says the parking meter increase will bring the city's south into line with the north.
"There's no question that parking in the city is extremely limited and we would encourage people to consider other forms of getting into the city, whether it's public transport, it's car sharing, walking, cycling," Mr Harding said.
"We acknowledge people do have to use a vehicle for time to time to come into the city."
Mr Harding says there is no link between the increases and a fall in revenue from parking fines.
"We're pleased that more motorists are now complying with parking restrictions and that means that there are less fines being issued," he said. The council's proposed budget is on public display this month and will be approved in June.
City Council President Michael Hart doubts there will ever be unanimous support among councilors or the public for charging people to park downtown.
But he agrees with Mayor James Fiorentini that the city must enact some form of paid parking for at least some downtown streets and lots before the new $11 million parking garage opens in Railroad Square this fall.
The new garage, which will be operated and maintained by the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, is expected to open by Thanksgiving. The concern is that people won't pay to park in the 350-space facility if there's free parking all around it.
The MVRTA has not set its parking fee for the garage yet, but the mayor said it will likely be capped at $5 per day. The maximum fee for the MBTA's train station lot on Washington Street is $4 per day.
"There's always going to be opposition among some of the public and I doubt it's going to get nine votes on the council," Hart said the mayor's proposal. "But we need to get the best plan we can get and move forward."
Hart said a special council meeting scheduled tonight with Fiorentini to discuss the mayor's proposal and possibly negotiate some changes to it has been postponed to May 16. After that meeting, Hart said he will schedule a vote on the plan for the next night at the council's regular Tuesday meeting.
"I don't know how confident I am that we will vote that night, because it depends on whether councilors are comfortable that they've had enough time to review the plan and reach agreement with the mayor on any changes," said Hart, adding that he intends to push for a vote soon.
The crux of the plan is to charge 50 cents an hour to park on the streets surrounding the new garage and up to a few dollars per day in several public lots around the garage, including the Wingate Street lot and the one behind the Tap restaurant on Washington Street. Free parking would be allowed in some lots for the first 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the lot. Meters would be installed along downtown streets and kiosk in the lots.
Under the proposal, parking would be limited to two hours, but remain free along Merrimack Street at the east end of downtown. However, the city would charge people to park on the first floor of the Merrimack Street garage.
The western end of downtown is packed with cars, particularly at night and on weekends, because of the popular restaurant district and old shoe factories that have been converted into more than 500 apartments and condominiums. There is much less of a parking crunch on the Merrimack Street end of downtown.
Several business owners are mounting a petition drive against the plan, and at least one councilor, Michael Young, has already expressed his opposition.
The recent enactment of a .75 percent local meals tax plus the reduction in trash collecting in the area have imposed enough of a burden on downtown business owners, Young said.
Hart said Fiorentini appears to be willing to compromise and said the mayor "doesn't seem tied to any part of it."
Among councilors, Hart said some "sticking points" appear to be over the details of making some number of parking permits available to downtown residents and business owners. He also said councilors have some concerns over the cost of parking on specific streets, including those where parking would be free and those were it would be most expensive.
Revenue from meters on Washington and Wingate streets will be reserved for improvements to the downtown area, including cleaning streets and sidewalks, buying and maintaining lights, flowers and trees, and hiring officers to enforce the new parking rules, the mayor said.
Revenue from the Merrimack Street garage would be used to clean and maintain that facility, which is the subject of regular complaints about its condition.
Parking downtown has been a problem for years. At least four previous pay-to-park proposals have been rejected by either the mayor or council.
The city's parking consultant, Nelson-Nygaard Associates, has been hosting public meetings for several months on the parking plan. Specific meetings have been held with restaurant owners, merchants, customers, downtown residents and the general public.
The mayor said Nelson-Nygaard looked at where people park, why, and for how long.
Despite the lengthy review, however, many people are now coming forward to oppose the plan.
It is the urban driver's most agonizing everyday experience: the search for an empty parking place.
It is part sleuthing and part blood sport. Circling, narrowly missing a spot, outmaneuvering other motorists to finally ease into a space only to discover that it is off limits during working hours.
In this city, it is also a vexing traffic problem. Drivers cruising for parking spots generate 30 percent of all downtown congestion, city officials estimate.
Now San Francisco professes to have found a solution - a phone app for spot-seekers that displays information about areas with available spaces.
The system, introduced last month, relies on wireless sensors embedded in streets and city garages that can tell within seconds if a spot has opened up.
Monique Soltani, a TV food and wine reporter, said she and her sister spent 25 minutes on Friday trying to park. "We were praying to the parking god that we'd find a spot," she said. "If we had the app, we would not have to pray to the parking god."
But the system could come with serious consequences. Safety advocates say that drivers on the prowl for parking could wind up focusing on their phones, not the road.
"It could be really distracting," said Daniel Simons, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, where he studies the science of attention. And, he said, it could also be dangerous: "Most people are looking for parking spaces in places that have a lot of traffic and a lot of pedestrians."
City officials acknowledge the potential problem. They are urging drivers to pull over before they pull up the city's iPhone app, or to do so before they leave home. But the spots can disappear quickly, as any circling driver knows, and for plugged-in motorists in the habit of texting or glancing at the GPS, the urge to use the parking app is certain to mount as the frustration does.
Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said safety could actually improve if drivers quickly found a spot instead of circling and getting frustrated. "I get you off the streets as quickly as possible," he said.
City drivers can testify to the frustration. Ms. Soltani drives into the city several times a week, she said, and spends 20 to 30 minutes searching for a spot each time. "That's at least an hour I lose every week just looking for parking. It's very frustrating," she said.
She said she had heard about the new app, but had not yet downloaded it.
The $20 million parking project here, called SFpark, is backed by the Transportation Department and the Federal Highway Administration, which are looking into how to ease congestion and driver angst by making the most of limited parking.
San Francisco has put sensors into 7,000 metered parking spots and 12,250 spots in city garages. If spaces in an area open up, the sensors communicate wirelessly with computers that in turn make the information available to app users within a minute, said Mr. Ford, of the transportation agency. On the app, a map shows which blocks have lots of places (blue) and which are full (red).
San Francisco's is by far the most widespread approach that several cities, universities and private parking garages are experimenting with.
Last December, Los Angeles worked with a company called Streetline to introduce a system covering spaces in West Hollywood, and it is expanding the program elsewhere. Streetline has since set up smaller projects on Roosevelt Island in New York City's East River, as well as at the University of Maryland and in Forth Worth, Tex.
More than 12,000 people have downloaded San Francisco's app, which is available now only for the iPhone but which city officials say they hope to bring to all similar devices.
Eventually officials hope to be able to make regular adjustments to pricing on parking meters - which can be programmed remotely - and at garages so they can spread out demand, raising prices in areas where competition is fiercest and lowering it elsewhere.
Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies parking issues and is serving as an adviser on the San Francisco project, said cities and traffic experts were closely watching the federally funded experiments in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"If it works in San Francisco, the whole world will take notice," Professor Shoup said.
Research conducted by Professor Shoup found that drivers looking for parking in a particular 15-block district in Los Angeles drove an estimated 950,000 miles a year, equivalent to four trips to the moon.
Those wasted miles are bad for the environment, driver anxiety, the efficiency of bus systems and pedestrian safety, Mr. Ford said. San Francisco has the dubious honor of having the highest rate among big cities for accidents involving pedestrians and cars.
When it is started up, the city's parking app warns drivers not to use the system while in motion. But safety advocates said that might not be sufficient. After all, they say, texting while driving is illegal in California and in many states, but a number of surveys, including one by the Pew Research Center, show that many Americans do it anyway. .
Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian advocacy group, said she hoped the new parking app would lead to fewer accidents.
"It's an innovative idea," she said. "The safe way for people to use the device is for them to pull over, which they know they should do. The question is whether they will."
But Ms. Soltani, the TV reporter, said using the app would probably join the array of activities already performed by drivers.
"We're already looking at Google Maps and Facebook on the phone while we drive," she said. "Aren't we always looking at something on our phone, or changing the radio, or drinking coffee? You're always slightly distracted when you're driving."
Taking advantage of the popularity of short-term car rental programs like Zipcar, San Jose is considering selling some of its vehicles and having city employees use a car-sharing program instead for city-related business.
Next month, the city will begin the process of accepting bids for a program that would enable the city to get rid of some of its older fleet vehicles and let some workers use cars rented from a company like Zipcar. City workers would have first dibs on the vehicles on workdays, but otherwise the cars would be available to the public to rent by the hour.
The idea faces many challenges - how much would it cost the city and drivers? And can this work in a suburban area like the sprawling South Bay, where most people might find it unthinkable to give up their cars?
But for some, it's an idea worth considering.
"If the program was affordable, I would certainly consider it," said Kathryn Reyes, a 41-year-old librarian at San Jose State who commutes by car from San Francisco but parks in the Willow Glen area and walks three miles to campus because parking is hard to find.
"Since I walk to work, there are times I need to drive in because of an errand or doctor's appointment," she said. "Getting back and finding parking can be a bit of a challenge, depending on where we are at in the day."
The car-sharing idea took root three years ago, when San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo met with residents in neighborhood meetings on future growth downtown. He heard the same concerns over and over.
"Traffic and parking, traffic and parking. Those were the issues we kept hearing about," Liccardo said. "People downtown are more willing to use transit, and some of them may think it's financially better not to have a car or to get rid of a second car. It certainly is good for the Earth."
Enrollment in the program could be free or could cost up to $500 a year. When drivers use a vehicle, they would pay an hourly rate in the $5 to $10 range, according to a San Jose review of what other cities and businesses charge. Insurance would be covered by these fees.
The benefits for the car-share operator would be knowing it has a consistent level of business from the city, while the city would be able to reduce some of its costs for providing fleet services.
A user would get a card that, when swiped on the windshield, would unlock one of the rental cars, which could park for free in reserved spots on city streets and in garages. The fee might cover the cost of gas and some or all of the miles driven, or there might be extra charges for these.
Most people would use this service for a short period, maybe a few hours to run errands.
The program would start small, say city officials, with maybe five to 10 vehicles at first and more added over the years.
People who use car-sharing services say the impact on your wallet can be significant. Zipcar members report an average savings of more than $6,000 a year compared with the cost of having a car.
Owning and operating a car costs $8,776 a year for someone who drives 15,000 miles, according to a recent AAA estimate made when the price of gas averaged $2.88 a gallon nationally.
Some drivers have their doubts about the car-sharing idea, including Ben Sheng, a 32-year-old engineer from San Jose.
"The shared vehicle must be readily available on an immediate basis," he said, "and also must be walking distance from my home. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for me to justify getting rid of my second vehicle."
That, however, is exactly what Matt Haynes did. When he lived in Berkeley and worked in San Francisco for Fehr & Peers, a transportation consulting firm, he became a Zipcar member, got rid of his family's second car and rode BART to the office. When he needed wheels for business meetings, he picked up a Zipcar, and he said the convenience was a "tremendous" advantage. He says he typically spent less than $1,000 a year.
"Whenever I had meetings in areas that were not easily accessible by transit, I would frequently rent a Zipcar for a few hours," said Haynes, who now manages his company's San Jose office on West Santa Clara Street and often bicycles to work. When he needs a car, he goes to the Zipcar center in Santa Clara.
"Should car-sharing come to San Jose, it would definitely make it more convenient here," he said.
As drivers grumble about spending $60 or more for a fill-up in a moderate-size vehicle like a Camry, and the fear that it may be considerably more by Memorial Day, the idea could catch on.
"Car-sharing can work in suburban environments, although this is a more limited market," said Susan Shaheen, co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC-Berkeley. "Car-sharing typically experiences an increase in membership when gas prices go up. In this case, it might be a good time for San Jose to investigate this."
Parking enforcement has been spotty lately along the American River Parkway - but that's about to change at two popular lots.
Faced with a depleted budget, county parks officials have hired the Sacramento city code enforcement department to install pay parking machines this month in the Howe and Watt avenue parking lots.
City code enforcement officers will patrol those lots to make sure parkway users pay the day-use parking fees. The city and county will divide ticket revenues.
County officials say turning parking enforcement over to the city will allow the county's dwindling group of park rangers to spend more time patrolling, and possibly bring in more money for both local governments.
The program at the Howe and Watt lots is expected to start on a test basis in two weeks, and be fully operational by June 1. The pay machines take cash and credit cards.
If the machine system proves profitable, city and county officials say they may expand the system to parking lots in 16 county parks next year.
The pay kiosks are sturdier versions of the green pay stations on downtown city streets. The city already has had success increasing parking revenue after installing the machines at Miller and Garcia Bend parks along the Sacramento River.
County officials say it is the new way to go.
"We're trying to bring our vehicle entrance fee system into the 20th century," Sacramento County Regional Parks Director Janet Baker said.
Currently, the county uses an honor system in which drivers put money in an envelope and stick the envelope in an "iron ranger" lockbox.
Daily fees are $5 for vehicles, $8 for vehicles with small watercraft, and $10 for vehicles with trailers.
Many park users, however, fail to pay. The county hasn't been able to enforce its parking rules effectively because of cuts to its ranger force.
The county now has 10 rangers, most of them working the American River Parkway. That's down from 25 just three years ago, county officials said.
More ranger jobs may be on the line this month when the Board of Supervisors considers its 2011-12 budget.
Baker said her department is pushing for frequent park users to buy an annual $50 vehicle pass. She also encouraged cyclists, joggers and others who enter county parks on foot to support county parks by buying an annual pass.
"If people who appreciate the parkway and use it would buy an annual pass, it could help solve our budget problem," Baker said.
If you park your electric car at this spot at the Union Station parking garage, you can fill it up for free.
The spot is one of three new electric vehicle charging stations installed at the Union Station, Air Rights, and Temple Street parking garages. The new green plugins, which follow on the heels of similar "juice bars" around town, were celebrated in a press event Friday. At the three new charging stations, owned by the New Haven Parking Authority, there will be no fee for electricity.
"It's a pretty good deal. You're getting your fuel for free," said Giovanni Zinn of the city's Office of Sustainability. He stood among two dozen city, state and United Illuminating (UI) officials Friday afternoon in the single spot designated for a free electric charge on the first level of the Union Station Garage. UI will pay for the electricity.
You of course have to pay for the parking while charging up. The full charge at 240 volts takes three to four hours.
In the pilot program with United Illuminating, which Zinn's office oversaw, the three garage locations were chosen to "reward commuters for using public transportation," according to Office of Sustainability Director Christine Tang.
"It's cool. New Haven's about transportation choice. We're fourth in the nation in people who walk to work," said Zinn.
Parking authority Executive Director William Kilpatrick also pointed to the future site of sheltered bicycle parking for 105 more cycles on the north end of the garage. Construction is ongoing and the project should be completed by July, he said.
The single charging station slot is prominently advertised on the Union Station garage first floor. The one at the Temple Street garage is on the fourth floor, and Air Rights garage juicing is taking place on the third floor.
What UI gets out of the free electricity is a chance to monitor usage and collect data. "How are electric vehicles going to affect our transformers so we don't overload our system?" was the way UI's CEO Jim Torgerson (far right) put it.
UI's Megan Pomeroy and its sales and marketing manager Barb Roderick (holding the five-pin connector that goes in the contact point of the vehicle) said UI is also using the data to develop a residential model for a charging station that they can sell to customers.
To that end, each of the charging stations in the three locations is made by a different manufacturer. Dan Shanahan represents Control Module Industries EVSE, which manufactured the cable at the Temple Street garage. That cable that is installed on the ceiling and comes down and retracts via small motor.
Shanahan's company also helped to install the city's electric truck stop, off Alabama Avenue in the port area. That facility should have a ribbon cutting in about two weeks, said Zinn.
As he demonstrated how his Volt's green light goes on to indicate when the "fueling has started," Shanahan said his ceiling-mounted cable is "much safer." He cited accidents that have already occurred with people tripping over the floor-borne cables of other charging stations.
UI eventually aims to develop charging stations for residential garages, which would sell for $2,500. According to UI's press material, traveling 100 miles in an electric vehicle costs about $6.80 in fuel, whereas a conventional vehicle fuel cost for the same trip is $13.11.
Shanahan said that it's pretty much understood as the future business model that when electric or hybrid plugins become common, 80 percent of owners will re-charge in their garages over night like you do with a cell phone.
The other 20 percent will be in places like public garages. Or private ones, where UI collaborated with the owners of the Omni Hotel to install another plugin station six months ago at the Chapel Square Garage beneath the hotel.
Pomeroy said UI currently has installed one residential plugin in Easton. The three stations in New Haven are the first in the state to be installed in publicly owned garages.
At Friday's event, Mayor John DeStefano said the new technology makes "lifestyle and economic sense." He added that when it comes time to replace city vehicles, adding more hybrid cars makes sense, too.
The mayor will not be using the public charging station for his own personal Prius, which, he said, self-charges as the wheels turn. The charging stations have standardized contact prongs for all the new vehicles from Chevy Volt to Nissan Leaf to the Tesla. If you've built your own electric vehicle, that likely won't work in the pilot charging stations, said Pomeroy.
Kilpatrick said at all three sites, charging will be on a first-come, first-served basis. As will of course the new 105 bike spots. More charging stations may be added as needed.
When a reporter left Union Station at noon, the historic juice bar still awaited its first customer.
The Kansas City Chiefs held a conference call with season ticket owners on Thursday to announce higher parking prices and new parking lot opening times.
The fee to park at Arrowhead Stadium on game day will increase $5, to $27 per car. The Chiefs said $4.50 of the $5 increase will go to Jackson County, as required when they negotiated their lease with the county in 2006.
"I think that is ridiculous," said Chiefs fan Loretta Perry. "What's the purpose of raising the parking lot tickets?"
Hunt also announced that the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium will open earlier on game day at 6 AM. He said fans had complained they were missing the beginning of games due to the security pat downs, and that opening the lots earlier will help the situation.
About 30 season ticket holders spoke with Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who both led the call. In addition to announcing the parking changes, Goodell and Hunt updated season ticket holders on the lockout.
"I learned a lot, and I'm glad they did it," said Chris Bell, a 46-year season ticket holder. "I'd be happy to get to Arrowhead at 6, but my wife wouldn't."
The Missouri Students Association passed a resolution opposing the increase in hourly rates and extended hours for the parking meters on Tiger Avenue at joint session.
According to the resolution, the hours of the parking meters would be extended from ending at 5 p.m. to ending at 9 p.m.
A parking structure will be built so more students will have a place to park, but the parking garage will be located downtown away from campus, MSA Academic Affairs Chairman Everett Bruer said.
"I don't think students will benefit much from that," Bruer said. "It would be fine if they met us halfway and built a parking structure closer to campus."
The parking meter hourly rates will be raised by 10 cents, Bruer said.
Several city parking meters would be affected by this bill, including meters on Hitt Street, near the student center and near Tiger Avenue.
The resolution states, "students have a right to access their campus, to which they already contribute considerable sums of money, without being additionally burdened or taxed."
Bruer said he believed the resolution has a fair argument for stopping the rates and hours for the parking meters to be increased and extended.
"The resolution by itself will not make the city council change its mind," Bruer said. "It's more like a means to an end."
Former Senate Speaker Evan Wood said he first heard about the proposed bill on the radio.
"They were talking about the proposed bill, and it initially sparked my interest," Wood said.
There would need to be a lot of communication between city council and MSA representatives, Bruer said. He said he and Wood will talk about it with city council representatives.
"I've only dealt with city council once or twice, and I'm not sure how confrontational they are," Wood said. "I'm interested to find out."
Wood said the bill to extend the parking meter hours was a huge step in the wrong direction.
"I am a firm believer that commuter students should not have to pay for parking on campus when they've already paid a lot of money to be here," Wood said.
Montclair residents and visitors can now use their mobile phones to pay for parking, with the municipality being the first place in New Jersey that Parkmobile USA has rolled out the innovative service.
Drivers can sign up for the service at Parkmobile's website, www.parkmobile.com, where they can also download a mobile app for it, according to a release issued Monday. Once registered, customers can either use a mobile app, the Internet, or a phone call to pay for parking.
With the new service, people who don't have change can avoid getting a ticket by using their cellphone to pay. But all Montclair parking meters will still accept coins for payment.
Montclair merchant Scott Kennedy was one of the first six people to sign up for the service.
It is particularly easy to use the pay-by-phone service through mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, according to Parkmobile. With the iPhone app, for example, people can use the phone's Global Positioning System to save up to five favorite zones and license plates for quick parking in the same zone; to park in the same place that they used the last time they parked; or to select a new space in the same zone. Those additional features are coming soon for Android and Blackberry.
Parkmobile users have 24-hour access to their online account, and they can print reports and easily track their parking expenses.
"I'm confident that cell phone parking will be very popular with Montclair residents and will provide a convenient new way for visitors to park and shop locally," Montclair Township Mayor Jerry Fried stated. "It will be great to be prompted to add a quarter by your smartphone app rather than have your meter expire."
The Montclair Parking Authority is excited to offer this payment alterative to the public, stated John Teubner, executive director of the Montclair Parking Authority.
Montclair is Parkmobile's first launch in New Jersey, although a company spokeswoman said it intends additional rollouts in the Garden State.
Parkmobile is a global provider of integrated end-to-end solutions for pay-by-phone parking and digital parking permits. With more than 2 million registered users, Parkmobile is available in more than 100 cities worldwide.
Parkmobile USA was founded in Atlanta and has become a key provider of cashless parking systems in the United States.
New York's cash-strapped Nassau County is targeting parking ticket scofflaws in an effort to collect up to $16.2 million.
The county is going after 14,000 drivers who haven't paid for three or more tickets in any 18-month period.
The crackdown focuses on motorists of unpaid parking tickets and red light violations. It goes into effect in July. Until then, Nassau is offering motorists a chance to negotiate a reduced settlement.
Under the program, violators whose cars are parked at any Nassau public parking location or street could find a locked boot on their car wheel. The owner would have to pay the tickets before the boot could be removed.
Until now, motorists who failed to pay their tickets had their names turned over to a collection agency.
San Diego has missed out on the collection of nearly $3 million in unpaid parking tickets during the past four years because of problems with how the city handles delinquent accounts, according to a new report from the City Auditor's Office.
The audit of the city's parking administration program found that a breakdown in communications between two city departments resulted in a loss of $2.9 million.
The problem affected more than 34,000 tickets over the past four years, a fraction of the city's 429,000 annual tickets. Parking administrators failed to send the unpaid tickets to the City Treasurer's Office for collection, in part because of a data-entry issue that prevented the tickets from being routed there.
The audit's release coincided with the start of three days of budget hearings, during which the City Council is set to discuss ways to bring in money to help fill a $56.7 million hole in the city's $1.1 billion operating budget.
"This is the type of thing we should be discussing during the budget process," said Council President Tony Young. "When you see something that's glaringly obvious, we should be taking the time to be really aggressive."
Some tickets that did make it to collections arrived there long after they were written and delayed the eventual payment, according to the audit.
Assistant City Auditor Chris Constantin said the longer the city sits on unpaid parking tickets, it becomes more difficult to collect because offenders may have moved or bought new cars and can't be tracked down.
"Let's say if you sold your car, then it's pretty much a loss (to the city)," he said. "You're not going to get that back. Good luck."
In response to the audit, the city on March 16 began working through the errant tickets, attempting to collect the ones that hadn't been sent to the Treasurer's Office. The city is also working with a vendor who handles the tickets to fix the data-entry problems.
The audit also credited the multimillion-dollar revenue loss to inconsistencies between the city departments and agencies that handle citations. The city allows seven of its departments - including police, lifeguards and parking meter operations - to issue tickets.
It contracts with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the Metropolitan Transit Development Board, the Unified Port of San Diego and nine other outside agencies to help process them. Since there is no standard for those agencies or departments to follow when it comes to processing tickets, it can sometimes take up to four weeks to simply input data into the city's tracking system.
City auditors have called on police, the stormwater department and other primary ticket-issuing agencies to streamline the process between departments.
The city issues about 429,000 parking tickets each year that generate about $21 million annually. Tickets can range from $25 for an expired meter to $440 for parking illegally in a handicap-only space.
City Manager Mike Van Milligen asked the Dubuque City Council to table a proposal to eliminate individually reserved parking spaces in the Iowa Street ramp. If he hadn't, Mark Willging's points would have been moot and probably left unspoken.
Willging, of Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, a law firm in the Security Building across the street from the ramp, spoke at the end of Monday's council meeting during a period reserved for miscellaneous public comment. The ramp had been an action item on the agenda, limited to council discussion.
"The ironic part about this is if you hadn't removed item No. 7 from your agenda, I wouldn't have the opportunity to talk about it," Willging said. "I would hope that if you do take it up again, you would do it under a procedure that allows for public comment from those who are affected."
Willging said the firm leases eight spaces in the Iowa Street ramp and five more in the Locust Street ramp. He said those leases have been in effect for more than 30 years and it is common courtesy to notify leaseholders prior to making a decision that affects them.
"That's my point tonight," he said. "Aside from the merits of it, we oppose it, but I think it would have been unfortunate to proceed in the manner you were going to proceed without those affected having the opportunity to be heard."
Van Milligen advised the council to table the item to a future date to provide the city an opportunity to discuss the proposal with property owners and businesses downtown.
The proposal would have eliminated numbered spaces and instead allowed first-come, first-served parking for leaseholders.
A public hearing is scheduled for tonight on a controversial proposed airport garage, but opponents say the New King Street project's draft environmental study has done little to quell their concerns.
Chief among them is the potential for expansion of the Westchester County Airport once parking becomes more plentiful and the garage's proximity to the Kensico Reservoir. The 267,000-square-foot, five-level parking garage would have 1,450 spaces.
The draft study submitted by 11 New King Street Associates LLC says the project will disturb 5,400 square feet of wetlands close to the reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 9 million New York City and Westchester County residents.
Rye Brook resident Tania Vernon said the proposal, which requires a zoning amendment, would set a "dangerous precedent."
"It's an entirely threatening idea in terms of water quality," said Vernon, whose house is five miles from the proposed site.
"It also provides for a way of enlarging the airport. If you make it more accessible to people, it makes it more attractive," Vernon added.
Calls to the developer's White Plains-based attorney, William Null, were not returned.
The project, first proposed in 2009 by Aerotech World Trade Corp, was headed by Jan Endresen, the company's chief executive officer.
Null said in December that the new applicant, 11 New King Street Associates LLC, represents a group of investors that includes Endresen.
The Town Code requires a mitigation plan for wetlands that is twice the area of the proposed disturbance. The developer in the draft study says that it will work with the town "to identify appropriate offsite areas for mitigation."
"If you destroy forested wetlands, then those take thousands of years to form," said Peter Dermudy, a hydrogeologist hired by the Sierra Club to review the environmental study.
"Creating new wetlands is an unequal swap," he continued. "The hydric soils central to the function of wetlands will not be present for many years. It will be of an inferior quality."
The applicant has argued that the so-called Park Place garage will be a solution to airport traffic congestion with its shuttle service to the airport.
Dermudy said stormwater flow from the garage containing leaked automotive chemicals will end up in the basins and wetlands leading into the reservoir.
The garage will also feature a carwash.
According to the draft study, a stormwater treatment system will be in place at the site.
Some 80,000 square feet of wetland buffer area also will be disturbed.
Of that, about half the area will be "revegetated ," according to the impact statement.
The project, to be built where a one-story office building stands, will contribute about "$250,160 in property taxes as compared to $46,373 under existing conditions," New King Street LLC says in the statement.
Freddie Savage, 44, is facing a theft by deception charge after Austin police said they saw him pose as a parking attendant and charge drivers to park in a free lot off 5th Street Friday night.
The parking lot which is near Interstate 35 is actually city owned and does not have pay to park boxes or any signs informing drivers they need to pay to park their car.
Savage walked up to someone parking and had yellow tickets in his hand and a wad of cash, police said.
A court affidavit shows that when the driver of the car asked how much it was to park, Savage said, "anything you got."
Savage was not wearing anything identifying him as a city employee and also had a book that had tickets written on, the affidavit states.
Police said when they arrested Savage he told them, 'I am just trying to make a buck.'
Savage is now facing misdemeanor charges. Further investigation shows he has two prior theft arrests in 1996 and 1997.
When the KU Parking and Transit Department announced a possible raise in parking permit prices, no one was more upset than University workers who maintain campus lots. Hourly parking rates could be raised from $1 per hour to $1.50, and the fees for parking tickets could also see an increase.
"I can't see having to pay more, not a nickel," facilities worker Sam Bailey said.
When KU Parking held an open forum April 14, Bailey and several other staff members voiced their concerns about the price of parking.
Many University employees haven't seen a raise in three years. Increased costs of insurance and parking threaten to reduce their paychecks. The parking department sent three proposals to the provost, one of which included a parking permit increase.
Because an increase is unpopular, Donna Hultine, director of parking and transit, said it is unlikely. Instead she expects another proposal that would increase the costs of hourly parking, events parking, and certain permit categories such as moped permits.
"Just because of the sensitivity, especially for faculty and staff with no raises for maybe a third year in a row, there's not a lot of support for raising permit parking prices," Hultine said.
The increase in event and hourly parking shifts the burden of cost from everyday users, such as staff and students, to campus visitors.
"Two bucks for parking I don't think is going to bother them, but it might save a bunch of us," Bailey said. "What we're trying to do is let everybody know, I don't know how we can afford any more."
The parking department will begin work this summer to reconfigure parking at the Mississippi Street garage, adding gates and a fee system similar to the one used in the Allen Fieldhouse parking garage. Instead of prepaying, the system would allow users to pay an hourly fee when leaving the garage.
Hultine said she expects the provost to decide Monday which of these changes will be made to campus parking policies.
UTD students might want to watch where they park and make sure they have a proper permit, because ticketing is on the rise.
More than 6,000 tickets were issued per month in February and March of this year, higher totals than any other months in the past three years.
Additionally, more than 26,000 parking tickets have been issued in the first seven months of the 2011 fiscal year - from September 2010 to March 2011 - according to data from UTD's Parking and Transportation Office.
Parking enforcement could conclude this fiscal year with as many as 46,100 tickets issued. That's more than the number of tickets issued in 2009 and 2010 combined.
James Wright, assistant vice president of Business Affairs, said while he could not provide a direct answer for why ticketing has increased, UTD has recently improved its parking enforcement.
". . . Our main challenge continues to be students, faculty and staff who park on campus without purchasing a valid parking permit," he said in an email to The Mercury. "To address this situation, we have recently improved enforcement throughout campus in order to protect the privilege of those who have purchased permits."
Tickets at UTD range from $20 to $120 per offense and are issued by police officers and student ticketers.
This ticketing produced $293,714 in revenue in fiscal year 2010 and $367,147 in 2009. It remains to be seen how much revenue will be generated this fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. While Wright said ticketing is not specifically seen as a source of revenue, the profit generated from ticketing goes to fund parking services, parking lot upgrades and some police services.
Maham Shafi is one of the many UTD students who have received a ticket for parking without a permit.
Shafi, a psychology sophomore with a gold permit, said she received about 12 tickets this semester, first for not having a permit and then for parking in lots she did not have permission to park in, including one incident in March.
"I had a class at the Conference Center (and) I looked everywhere (but) there was not a single parking space, no gold, no green, nothing," she said. "I parked in front of the Student Services Building where it said (it was for) services parking only."
She said she appealed all of her tickets but only two were approved.
Of the 1,325 that were made in fiscal year 2010. Of these, 629 were denied and 696 were granted.
While most appeals are made by students who have not purchased permits, some students, like biology freshman Fatima Khan, feel their appeals were unfairly denied.
"I think there are a lot of people just making excuses because they didn't get their permit on time," Khan said. "But there are a few hundred that have legitimate excuses (and) are not given a chance."
After her parking permit was stolen in December, Khan received two tickets for not having a permit on her car. She appealed the tickets and both were denied.
Camille Williams, parking and transportation specialist, is the only person on campus who grants or denies appeals.
"You read what the customer writes down (in their appeal) and what the problems are that they are facing," she explained about the appeals process. "It's a case to case basis and depends on what happens to the person."
Along with her other duties, Williams reviews about 40 appeals per day. She said if students feel their appeals are unfairly denied, they can re-appeal online or call her.
To generate additional revenue, parking-enforcement officers will step up their efforts to ticket cars parked at expired meters or beyond posted time limits, Mayor Angel Taveras' administration announced Wednesday.
According to a news release, the parking regulations will be enforced from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Posted one-hour and two-hour parking limits will be enforced and drivers will have to feed the meter during the posted enforcement times.
Fully enforcing the city's parking ordinance has the potential to generate much-needed new revenue, the release said. Last year, parking meters generated $1.3 million, the administration said, and the city is losing at least 35 percent of its meter revenue annually due to underenforcement.
According to the release, full enforcement was made possible, in part, by the city's recent agreement with Public Employees Local 1033, which will create flexible work schedules for parking-enforcement officers without additional overtime. In the past, the city did not issue parking tickets on Saturdays and weekdays after about 3 p.m. to avoid overtime costs that would exceed the income generated by parking enforcement.
Drivers don't need to carry quarters in their pockets: the city offers a smart card that can be used to pay meters. The ProvPass parking card is available in $10 and $20 denominations. Users swipe the card in the meter when they arrive and when they leave. The meter calculates the amount of time used and deducts the appropriate amount from the card.
The ProvPass can be purchased at City Hall, the Public Safety Complex or at the downtown AAA office. In May, the city will expand and promote the program to make the cards more readily available.
The mayor in Memphis is proposing to sell the city's future parking revenues, but advisers see an upside potential of millions of from modernized parking operations under city ownership.
To help balance the city's budget, Mayor A C Wharton is proposing to lease future on-street parking revenues to Gates Capital Group, in return for a one-time payment of $10 million to $15 million upfront. The city would be able to lease the parking meters back.
Gates Capital gives the city money and the municipality pays it back over a period of time. Reimbursement to Gates Capital includes revenue raised from parking operations. A study completed for the city's finance division said that the neglected system could produce more than $4 million in new annual revenue, according to The Commercial Appeal.
"My motto is modernize, but don't monetize," said Center City Commission President Paul Morris, a critic of Wharton's proposal. "We definitely need to modernize our on-street parking program."
The independent study conducted by ConsulPark Inc. projects that the city could increase annual revenues by $869,000 by hiring four new enforcement officers to work at night and on the weekends.
City Chief Administrative Officer George Little said that while the lease and lease-back option from Gates Capital is still on the table, it is clear that the city needs to invest in its parking operations.
"I don't think anybody is jumping up and down to do (the Gates Capital option)," Little said. "Outside of that, there is a sense we need to modernize our parking operations.
"Whether there is political will to do that remains to be seen. But it's not getting any better the way things are now."
Upside revenue potential also includes replacing 60 broken or missing meters, which would generate an estimated $35,000 annually. Memphis has 1,250 meters, including electronic meters and older mechanical meters. None of the meters accept credit or debit cards. When more advanced meters are installed, municipalities have experienced a 30 to 70 percent uptick in revenues, the group said.
Additionally, ConsulPark's forecasts that a rate hike from the current 75 cents an hour to $1.50 an hour, over a period of three to four years, would generate $300,000 in annual new revenue after the third and fourth years.
City workers are supposed to monitor on-street meter parking from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. However, its three full-time parking-enforcement officers work only until 4:30 on weekdays and does not work weekends.
"Busy, bustling cities that have the nightlife activities common to Memphis require a robust, extended-hours parking operation to support these activities," said the report from ConsulPark. "Today, parking in the evening and on weekends is much of a free for all."
In all, ConsulPark says its recommendations could increase annual parking income from its present level of about $1.2 million to over $5 million.
"That's real money," said City Council chairman Myron Lowery. "We need to look at it and do it."