Vegas, Grammar, Disabled in Chicago, and PIE 2014


Vegas, Grammar, Disabled in Chicago, and PIE 2014

I hope you are reading this column as you attend the 2014 Parking Industry Exhibition (PIE), sponsored and produced by Parking Today magazine. It’s running March 16-19 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. I’m there as well, along with Eric, Joyce, Marcy, Carol, Francine, Kelley, Peter and various other PT denizens. Please take the time to look us up and chat.
Brandy Stanley, Parking Services Manager for the city of Las Vegas, has always been cutting-edge, and her on-street parking program is no different. Not only has she installed pay-by-space in “Sin City,” she also has a phone app for locating lunch trucks and sundry other features.
One of the larger law firms in the city came to her and said that it wanted to pay for its clients’ on-street parking. The word “no” not being in her vocabulary – unless she doesn’t want to do it – Brandy set out to “make it so.”
In the area around the law firm’s offices, the pay-by-space machines now have a little sign that tells parkers that if they are going to a certain law firm, to simply remember their space number and give it to the receptionist in the lobby.  She then goes online and pays the parking fee for the client. Neat, huh?
It won’t work unless you are pay-by-space, but there you go.
Brandy also tells me that they are busy in Las Vegas. Her staff is running parking not only in the public lots, but in some private ones, too.  She doesn’t solicit this business, and explains that her charges are higher than the private sector.
But a number of off-street owners seem to trust her operating expertise.  She also is in negotiations to take over enforcement in the city of North Las Vegas.
In her spare time, Brandy is fighting a class action lawsuit that concerns turning off parking meters when there is no parking fee required. She told me that the streets are well-signed, and people who have driver’s licenses are required to be able to read. Plus, she pointed out, when she shuts down the meters, she gets countless calls complaining that the meters are broken. Go, Brandy.

‘No overnight parking violators will be prosecuted’ That’s the exact wording on a sign in a parking lot for Stewart’s Shop on East Main St. in Frankfort, NY, reports the Public Eye column on the Utica, NY, Observer Dispatch website.
The convenience store sign doesn’t seem to be causing any trouble, officials said. A Stewart’s spokeswoman told the columnist that the way the sign is designed is an attempt to keep things simple.
“It’s pretty standard phrasing for this type of sign,” she said. “We would expect that it’s understood what it means.”
To me, the way that it’s written can mean only one thing: If you park overnight, you won’t be prosecuted.  Period.  How can it mean anything else?
Although, assuming the last sentence in the quote above is accurate, maybe it can.
More than 300,000 disabled parking permits (blue placards) are issued in the Chicago area. New rules say that the disabled must pay for on-street parking, except those who are physically unable to work the parking meters.  Fair enough. But how does enforcement know the difference?
The bureaucrats in Chicago have come up with a solution. They are issuing a different colored placard only to those parkers with disabilities who have a doctor’s note saying they are unable to feed the meters.  That’s about 10% of the total disabled placards issued.
Now, just what is to keep these placards from being duplicated, stolen, borrowed, etc., etc., etc.?
This is a money deal for Chicago. They had to pay a private firm, Chicago Parking Meters, more than $55 million to cover losses generated by disabled drivers who parked in metered spaces. I think that was the check Hizzoner the Mayor said he would never write.
My solution: Everyone pays. 
The disabled parkers would get a separate rate that gives more time for the same amount of money, because they need more time to get where they are going and return. Set up a pay-by-cell program so they can pay easily in their car and access the lower rate. Or an “in-car” meter. Or …
Of course, there are many ways technology can solve this problem. Come to PIE 2014 in Chicago this month and find out what they are.
Paul Martinez Smith over on our Parking Today Blog caught this
little gem:
Winter weather seems to be the theme of many a news article lately.
In New York City, some East Village residents were up in arms about parking tickets issued for cars actually stuck in place by ice. A water main leak had created a 3-to-4-inch-thick sheet of ice that trapped a city block’s worth of parked cars, the New York Post reported in early January.
Some drivers were handed $65 tickets, which neighbors called just plain cold-hearted.
“I couldn’t get my car out right away, and when I told [the parking agents] that, they were like, ‘I already started writing the ticket,” said David Griffith, a 29-year-old, who works in the nightlife biz.
Residents who wanted to avoid the fine spent hours chipping their cars out of the ice and still several more hours griping about the effort and the cruelty of local police.
Beverly Lefhowitz, a psychotherapist who was forced to wait in her Honda Civic, called it a major inconvenience.
“It’s a hassle. I had appointments today [that] I had to cancel because someone told me they were giving tickets,” Lefhowitz said.
Whining about the weather never gets anybody anywhere – but neither does a car frozen fast to the ground. Those enforcement officers needed to chill out.
– Paul Martinez Smith
I spent the last week in January and the first one in February in Atlanta, DC, Chicago and LA, meeting with parking pros and discussing the this month’s Parking Industry Exhibition in Chicago. I was joined by Marilyn Etheridge, who is assisting us in getting the word out about PIE 2014.
Marilyn has been extremely successful in increasing attendance at the events she runs for the Florida, Georgia and Carolinas parking associations, and we have already seen the results of her efforts with PIE.
We are, at this writing (Feb. 1), at 160% of the registration numbers we had at this time last year for PIE 2013. All of you coming to PIE 2014 are going to find your efforts rewarded.
PIE 2014 is slated to be the best Parking Industry Exhibition “evah” …


Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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