One Call Does It All
Oceanside, CA is a medium sized city located halfway between San Diego and Orange Country. Its 160,000 people are living through a transition in its downtown area from a lazy beach city to unparalleled development with new buildings and infrastructure abounding. It sits on the edge of the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.
Bryan Forward, a 29 year parking veteran, heads the parking system that is dealing with the loss of parking space (for new buildings) and the coming requirement to charge for parking in places that have been free since the invention of the automobile.
‘We are a bit of an island as far as not really having other agencies with major parking staffing nearby, says Forward. “This makes us unique in North San Diego County as no other agency nearby has a parking enforcement program. We have 10 full time and 2 seasonal officers.
Oceanside’s program is a bit unique, notes Forward, in that “one call does it all” from enforcement to citywide citizen complaint response, storage of vehicles, collecting revenue from the machines and meters, maintenance of the machines and meters, tree trimming for our street sweepers, sign maintenance, and assisting the street sweepers that they are assigned to remove large items and other related maintenance needs.
Additionally, the city is in a great state of flux with our downtown core becoming increasingly urban while losing considerable parking assets to development. The next several years will be an interesting one as it balances dynamic pricing to spread out the parking footprint, introduce pay requirements to areas that haven’t had it in 40 years, and look to improved sensor technology to better monitor timed zones.
Forward considers himself and “old dog” in parking as he begins his fourth decade in the industry. “We are keen on where technology is going but smart enough to not be an early adopter of unproven technologies (mobile pay, LPR, in-ground sensors). However, we are open to working with vendors in what we call our “parking laboratory” that is our compact downtown area. We have talked to GE about upcoming camera based sensors, and consultant Julie Dixon is bringing a company to us to use as a beta site for their sensor product.”
Oceanside is facing the challenge of the loss of surface parking lots in our prime downtown beach area due to unparalleled development, he adds, and it is going to be faced with many of challenges and opportunities. Decades old mentalities about free and proximate parking are going to go out the window as we look to incorporate newer tried technologies to manage the resources left.
The city just happens to be at a time where it is going out to RFP soon, choosing a new citation issuance system, and potentially outsourcing machine and meter revenue collection while taking a rate increase with seasonal rates forward which if approved will necessitate altering our existing meters.
“In addition, Forward said, “we have a unique program in Oceanside where the 12 field staff members do everything. We have a street sweeping enforcement program that was one if not the first to employ enforcement on every residential street with the officer following the sweeper (the model that the Vehicle Code is moving to increasingly), we respond to all citywide parking complaints, tow vehicles for nearly every section of law, conduct all the timed and beach pay parking enforcement, collect monies from the Pay and Display machines (22) and meters (530), do the machine and meter maintenance, so essentially, as I noted before, one call does it all.”
John Van Horn is the editor of Parking Today. He can be reached at email@example.com