I blogged below about variable rates and monitoring of individual spaces. I received this response from “a parking guy”:
What about the drivers of delivery, passenger vehicles, taxis and limos that sit in metered spaces every day? What about disabled permits, official business placards and exempt vehicles like fire, police and emergency services? In a typical downtown, the fancy sensors will be lighting up all across grid with “space occupied – unpaid” messages with these vehicles in the mix. Will the rates be adjusted based on availability, payment or a combination of both? It’s inherently unfair to raise the rate for a paying customer when there are spaces taken up on the same block by non-paying vehicles. If you’re going to dispatch enforcement for “space occupied – unpaid” situations you will have your enforcement staff chasing their own tails and eventually they will disregard the dispatch messages. As for the “price messaging” aspect, I seem to recall that there have been lawsuits filed for deceptive practices when the rates on some single space meters were twenty-five cents for seven and one half minutes but the displays were incapable of displaying seconds. Depending on the manufacturer they either displayed a 7 or an 8. Those who received a 7 message after payment felt they were being ripped off for thirty seconds of time. There’s always a lawyer or elected official looking to get some face time with the press.
As for dynamic signs on each block displaying the rate in real time, it will be fun to watch cars zigzag from one side of the street to the other in order to try and get the cheaper space. Don’t think it will happen?
I think “guy” makes some good points. Placards are a problem – I say do away with them and let the disabled and those on “official business” pay or be cited. If appropriate they can be reimbursed by their department. Who knows, might make them more efficient. As for cops and firemen – Please…
I’m not sure the concept of “space occupied, unpaid” and immediately dispatching enforcement is where this program is going. Most cities who are considering sensors say they will use overstay information for statistical purposes and “target” enforcement into areas where overstay seems to be rampant, rather than to specific spaces. That to me makes more sense in the long term. It is also true, that enforcement should be able to ‘read’ the sensors in areas that are “time limited” only so they are on the scene when a car overstays.
Technology will handle the “second vs minute” issue above, and I don’t expect dynamic signs to be springing up on every corner. That goes to my argument that rates need to be set and held for a minimum of a few months, so drivers will get used to the costs, which will be displayed on meters. Note that few cities now actually display the hourly rates on signs where drivers can see them.
Hopefully drivers will move (zig zag) quickly to off street parking, once they understand that on street rates are higher than off street.
As was noted on our Facebook page yesterday, this will be an ongoing educational program and we should expect results instantly.