Why do people dread on-street parking?


Why do people dread on-street parking?

A discussion held at the Temecula Parking Group…

Let’s face it, on-street parking has many challenges. Be it payments, convenience, frustrations, congestion, communication, enforcement, street design, etc. A discussion about all of this happened recently, and took many twists and turns with many more questions raised. The conversation went something like this:

Let’s start off with payments. Coins! All those coins! Don’t I need coins? Who carries coins! Well, it is true that many places still rely on coin meters, and the perception is still out there that coins are a must. If a parker is in unfamiliar territory, what do they do? There are credit card payment machines, of course, but we are still fighting the perception of secure payments. With all that credit card fraud happening nowadays, is that meter standing alone out on the street really secure?

Parking policies and rules can be inconsistent from one place in town to the next and can change too often to keep track. 

Again, we are talking about perceptions. Then there are those multi-space meters. A person actually has to walk to the meter, get the ticket and then back to their car? Seems like a pain. What if the weather is bad? Yuck. At this point, all of our pay-by-app folks are jumping up and down, cheering for the apps saying “It’s so easy!” 

OK, but what if you are lazy? You don’t think about this until you need it and then you have to download and register on the app before you can use it the first time. Apps have not happened for many people, yet. Again, there is the question in some peoples’ minds if this is really secure.

Is on-street parking really that convenient? That depends on where you are, of course. On-street parking in an urban environment can be hard to find, especially if someone’s looking for a space to fit that landyacht of a vehicle they are driving. Often, you can end up with a space that is too far away from where you want to be, which makes for a lot of circling around the block.

So, now that we have so many people circling the block that just leads to even more congestion. Curb design can be inconsistent throughout town, but is very important to what works best in a particular area, be it parallel parking, angled parking or back-in only spaces. 

Parking policies and rules can be inconsistent from one place in town to the next and can change too often to keep track. Sometimes, the rules don’t make sense and can change from one block to the next, what with permit parking for residential neighborhoods or students, etc., thrown into the mix.

On-street parking can be very frustrating once you find a spot and squeeze, yourself into it after multiple attempts. Once you find a spot, you have the meter to contend with. The screen on the meter can be hard to read and the instructions can be hard to understand.

Downtown parkers are a hard group to inform. Enforcement can be lacking, which may be a good thing for scofflaws, and a bad thing for the rest of us. All of this is just going to get more complicated in the future, what with ride share app companies, and the like. 

This just raises more questions. Will there ever be enough on-street parking? Can we fix the problems of not enough parking? What is the real value of on-street parking? Maybe spaces can be rented by businesses and payments made to the city or operator. Parking lanes can be used for traffic during rush hours, which already happens in some places. 

Let’s rewrite the question: Do we really need on-street parking? After all, it costs money, time and equipment. How much money is it really making? What’s the real value in it?

Are we really, as a whole, so irritated and inept at on-street parking? Maybe not, but one radical idea that came out of this conversation is just to eliminate it! Makes you think of the possibilities, anyway.

Karen Pradhan is Sales Channel Professional / Vehicle Access SKIDATA, Inc. She can be reached at Karen.Pradhan@SKIDATA.com.

Article contributed by:
Karen Pradhan
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