And not a Parking Guy in sight

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And not a Parking Guy in sight

As Astrid noted last week on parknews.biz, the LA Times has commented on parking issues –you can read it here 

On balance the city of Los Angeles is saying that it can’t cut parking ticket rates, because…wait for it…they have a shortfall in the city’s budget. So this means that the city of Angels sees parking citations as a revenue source and not as a way to change the way people live in the city.

My experience is that parking folks see fines as a way to adjust behavior.  The revenue is secondary.

It seems the Mayor of our fair city empaneled a commission to study parking a couple of years ago and has received a report recommending many changes to how parking is handled. Its pretty comprehensive and has some good ideas, but what I found most distressing was that when you get to the end and the list of the 30 or 40 on the commission, not one was a full fledged member of the parking profession.

Its not that they don’t exist in Los Angeles.  We have consultants, parking operators, experts who run parking on and off street in a hundred cities within a stone’s throw of LA. There are equipment manufacturers, software engineers, and even the odd editor. But not one was asked to serve on a commission that was planning the future of parking for the city.

Most were politicians, a few restaurant owners, gadflys who ran local commissions and ‘represented’ neighborhoods. Granted their input was needed. But as the Times noted in the editorial, the technology used in LA is decades out of date.  Who on the commission knew diddly about parking technology, where it worked, where it doesn’t, and how to apply it.

I know I don’t play well with politicians. But I’m sure there are many in our business who do.

In the mean time we will continue with a Pay by Cell program no one knows about, having enforcement follow street sweepers and write tickets, signage that is so complex a lawyer would run away screaming, and $150 million generated for the general fund.

All is right with the world.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. John: I agree that parking professionals need to be an integral part of all parking discussions and solutions, as noted in your LA piece…and yes, it is true that we parking professionals put behavior modification above revenue. However, like many cities Green Bay (WI) Parking Division is a stand-alone entity that is charged with balancing its own budget without the use of tax revenue. We’re on our own. So in addition to modifying poor parking behaviors, we also (like it or not) need to modify the bottom line if the budget doesn’t balance.

    I have never met a city official who has claimed that they have excess tax revenue. Elected officials don’t want to burden their tax base any more than it already is. So we parking professionals continue to do our part. It’s like the auto industry. I have learned my lesson that I can’t afford a Mercedes, and have modified my behavior by driving a Chevrolet. But the price of a Mercedes continues to go up anyway so they can meet their budget. Life is funny that way.

    I welcome anybody to devise a plan that addresses the parking industry’s punitive and budgetary issues to the satisfaction of everybody. I’ve been at it for 26 years, and I’m still coming up dry.

    Thanks for listening,
    Chris Pirlot, Parking Manager
    City of Green Bay, WI

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