Thinking about charging for parking?


Thinking about charging for parking?

Implementing paid parking is not always the answer. You may think that charging for parking is the easiest way to fix an issue, but you may be creating a whole other set of challenges for your location.

Many factors must be considered and evaluated before you invest in a paid parking solution. First, as with any parking matter, what is the core issue that you are trying to resolve?

Is it a turnover concern?

Are employees parking in the prime parking spaces?

Are the current regulations being consistently enforced? Do you have enough parking enforcement officers?

What about the existing signage? Are the policies clearly posted?

What are the actual occupancy statistics?

If paid parking is implemented, how will the surrounding communities be impacted? Do you need a residential parking permit program?

Who are your stakeholders and how will they
be affected?

How will the paid parking program be operated, and what resources will manage and maintain the equipment, services and any vendor agreements?


It’s not a simple as installing parking meters or implementing a mobile payment solution. You must comprehensively evaluate the issue that you are trying to address in order to develop an effective solution. Otherwise, you will simply be chasing the problem throughout your community.

Based upon your thorough assessment, if paid parking is the solution, now you need to develop a “rate model” that addresses the needs of your community.

What type of rate model matches for your desired objectives? If you are trying to encourage shorter-term parking, for example, you will need to develop a tiered rate model that provides cost-affordable long-term parking rates.

Your rate model also needs to consider the cost of monthly parking permits that are balanced with your transportation demand management objectives. All the rates need to be supported by an enforcement penalty schedule that encourages compliance.

At PIE 2018 in late March, officials from Park City, UT, will review how they went through this process, and present their successes … and “not-so-successes.”

While it might only seem complicated, it really is!

You can’t simply apply a bandage to this issue; you must consider all your options and the direct impacts within your community.

While each parking operation is unique, PIE 2018 will offer an opportunity to learn from some recent paid parking implementations and consider how this would work for your program.

Julie Dixon is Founder, President and Principal Consultant of Dixon Resources Unlimited. Contact her at

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Julie Dixon
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