Tag Archives: on-street parking

Parking Whack-a-Mole

IPMI Blog 03-18-20By Blake Fitch, CAPP

In my last blog post, I wrote about transformation by communication. I explained the process used for adding an additional parking zone to the City of Aspen, Colo., for the first time since 1995. It didn’t take long to see the domino effect from making this change. Our parking director likes to refer to this as the Whack-a-Mole effect, meaning that when you address one issue, another pops up.

In another section of the city outside of the designated parking zones, a transformation was taking place. The vehicles displaced for the creation of an addition parking zone found another area to migrate to. Lone Pine Road became the new storage area for vehicles and trailers—some individual had even set up shop conducting business out of a small, converted bus.

It was difficult to find the right balance for the best use of the parking spaces in this area. This section of the city originally started out being regulated as 72-hour parking. Residents of the area as well as parking staff observed the creativity of the individuals parking here. Some of the parkers banded together and found a way to defeat this system by simply trading parking spaces with each other.

We then implemented a two-hour parking rule that was meant to promote the turnover of parking spaces. We had swung the pendulum too far, leaving the street’s parking virtually empty. In our latest attempt to remedy the issue we have designated these spaces as a 24-hour parking with strict enforcement. The results so far look promising for balancing turnover and occupancy. Only time will tell if the effect will be long lasting. The next step to try may be the implementation of a paid parking system in this area.

Blake Fitch, CAPP, is parking operations manager for the City of Aspen, Colo.

When Will They Ever Learn?

Wet and cloudy meter screen.By David M. Feehan

I am going to be kind and not identify the exact location where the meter pictured in this photo is located. Suffice it to say that I was attending a meeting in a Washington D.C., suburb on a rainy evening. As usual, I was running late and did not have a pocket full of quarters. Surely the meters would either accept credit cards or would have a pay-by-cell option. But after I parked and waded through a puddle of water along the curb. I found that the meter was totally unreadable.

What to do? I inserted my credit card. There was no sign indicating a pay-by-cell option. The meters didn’t seem to have a number code. It was rainy and dark.

I work with parking companies and parking operators. I was also thinking about my wife and how she hates parking. She is not alone. In the research my co-authors Barbara Chance, PhD, and Carol Becker, a city official in Minneapolis, did for our book, “Design Downtown for Women–Men Will Follow,” the No. 1 thing most women hate about downtown is parking.

Gender would have made no difference on this rainy night. No one could read this meter. The choices? Enter the meeting late after trying to find a shop that would give me change and risk having to stand all evening as a latecomer; pull my credit card and hope that it somehow read the card and gave me time; or simply walk away and take a chance on a $40 citation.

Today, I wrote the parking management office and sent them a note and the photo. I know how much it costs to replace a whole meter system. I also know that sooner or later these meters will be replaced. When that time comes, think about a cold, rainy night. Think about a customer standing in the rain, peering at an unreadable screen and wondering what to do. Think about how the new meters you are considering would function in rain, snow, and sleet. Be very user conscious and think about that out-of-town visitor without the right app on her cell phone or a pocket full of quarters. Think carefully when you replace those old meters.

David M. Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.

D.C. Ditches Parking for Drop-off, Pick-up Zones

On-street parking is being traded for curbside drop-off/pick-up zones in five places in Washington, D.C., as part of an expanding program.

The curb management program began at one spot on Connecticut Ave., near busy Dupont Circle. After a comment period, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced five more of the zones, which will operate 24/7 in other busy corridors. The zones, which will take away some on-street parking spaces, will both help carpoolers and ride-share users and increase pedestrian safety, officials said, and the program follows a model that has worked well during large-scale special events, such as papal visits. The zones are also opened to commercial vehicles making deliveries.

Read more here.

THE BUSINESS OF PARKING | LEGAL: Don’t Be Arbitrary and Capricious

By Michael J. Ash, Esq., CRE

HENRY “HANK” ROWAN JR.’S induction furnace design is used throughout the world to melt metal, but he is best known for his philanthropy. In 1991, Hank and Betty Rowan donated $100 million to Glassboro State College, which became Rowan University. Rowan University began an almost 30-year program of development that resulted in new education programs, departments, and facilities. The physical campus and student body have expanded tremendously, and its hometown of Glassboro, N.J., has also been transformed.

One of the typical controversies in a college town is the balance between student and resident parking. In Glass­boro, this recently reached the New Jersey appellate courts in the matter Glassboro Guardians v. Borough of Glassboro, Docket No. A-1670-16 (April 18, 2018).
In an attempt to control the use of on-street parking and restore a balance between student and resident on-street parking, the Glassboro Town Council adopted an ordinance requiring all rental properties within the municipality to “provide a minimum of one off-street parking space for every one authorized occupant 18 years of age or more.” This new parking regulation was challenged in court by the Glassboro Guardians, a nonprofit corporation comprised of indi­viduals who own rental properties within the municipality and presumably rent to students for off-campus housing.

The Guardians claimed the ordinance:

  • Was arbitrary and capricious.
  • Was improperly enacted under the municipality’s police power.
  • Violated the equal protection clause of the New Jersey Constitution and New Jersey Civil Rights Act.

After a three-day trial the judge struck down the ordinance.

Regulating Parking

While there is little doubt that on-street parking can be regulated throughout a municipality with the establishment of parking meters, signage, and a program of penalty enforcement, typical police powers must be implemented in such a way as to conform with the law. Some of the first residential permit parking programs were subjected to legal challenges alleging discrimination against non-residents and an improp­er allocation of the public resource of on-street parking. The U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the legality of a residential parking permit program, can be interpreted to support addi­tional aspects of on- and off-street parking regulation.

In previous cases, the Supreme Court clearly identified the rational objectives of a residential permit parking program, including en­hancement of the quality of life for residents of a community, properly regulating the utilization and balance between off-street parking facilities and on-street parking resources, and promoting the flow of traffic by limiting the circling of non-residents searching for free on-street parking.

Judging Municipal Actions

In New Jersey and most states through­out the country, municipal actions are presumed to be valid, and an objector has a heavy burden in seeking to over­turn them. A challenger must clearly show that the municipal action is “arbi­trary, capricious, or unreasonable” be­cause the underlying policy and wisdom of an ordinance is assumed to reside with the governing body, not the courts, which are not as familiar with the issues in dispute. An ordinance will not be set aside if any set of reasonable facts jus­tifies it. Although a court will typically not investigate the motives behind an ordinance, the court will weigh evidence about the legislative purpose when the reasonableness of the enactment is not apparent on its face.

Here, it seems that the Glassboro Council sought to maintain the balance between student and resident parking through the adoption of the ordinance. However, the court observed the lack of any introductory language or statement of reasons justifying why it was enacted. Without any explanation included in the rule itself, the judge examined the legislative history but found no explanation for adoption of the ordinance. Glassboro failed to articulate any valid reason for the parking policy, and it was set aside after years of litigation.

Tips For Adopting Parking Regulations

  • Include detailed recitals or “whereas” provisions setting forth the factual basis for the parking regulation.
  • Accumulate and reference documents that support the reason for the parking regulation in the form of parking studies, correspondence, or internal analysis.
  • Make a record at the adoption of the policy through comment and discussion.

When considering the implementation of new parking regulations, the parking professional should be able to identify the rational basis for the policy. In addition to the desired regulatory changes, the legislation, whether by ordi­nance or resolution, should clearly articulate the objectives of the regulation.

Read the article here.

MICHAEL J. ASH, Esq., CRE, is a partner with Decotiis, Fitzpatrick, & Cole, LLP. He can be reached at mash@decotiislaw.com.