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Parking Quiz, Schools, and The Road to Escondido…

By John Van Horn

The San Diego Union-Tribune reviewed nearly 2.5 million parking tickets issued in the Southern California city and found some interesting facts.
1. On what day of the week are the most citations issued? – Tuesday, followed closely by Wednesday
2. On what day, excluding Sunday, are the fewest issued? – Saturday
3. What is the most ticketed hour of the day? 11 a.m. to noon
4. What car color is the most often ticketed? White (21%)
5. What are the top three violations? No Current Registration, 482,000; Expired Meters, 456,000; Violation of Posted Rule (time limits, loading zones, fire hydrants, no parking, etc.), 431,000.
Time to trade in the white Belchfire V12 and keep my driving down to later afternoon and weekends ...
They also parsed the citations by location, and since they won’t mean a lot to you, I won’t list them here. However, it might be interesting to see if the locations where most tickets were written correlated with any particular enforcement officers ...
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When the school decides to build some new classrooms, a research center or a dorm on a parking lot, they often don’t consider the problem that during construction, if not after, those spaces go away.
This problem is not unique. It goes to “net” parking spaces. Let’s assume that they are building a new wing of the hospital on a 500-car parking lot. There will be a 600-car garage under the new facility. Oh, we say, we will have 600 spaces when the construction is finished.
Not so; you will have 100 spaces when the construction is finished. The 500 were already there. And most likely, the folks using the new facility will generate more than the net increase in parking, so you are fighting an uphill battle. Worrying about parking during construction is a temporary problem; the result is a permanent issue.
The parking management folks go through three years of hell while construction is going on, and then when the garage opens, they find the hell is just beginning.
As grandchildren of boomers come of college age, more and more facilities will be needed. And that scarce parking will be used for those facilities.
What is a poor parking manager to do?
Solve the problem the old fashioned way. Charge more for parking. Get rid of all that hierarchy and political nonsense and charge for parking as people use parking. You will find that, miraculously, more space will appear, trips to the campus will be reduced, and all will be right with the world.
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Folks riding the Metro in Toronto are going to have to pay to park in outlying stations. It’s about time. Giving “free” parking to one group isn’t appropriate and sends the wrong message.
What they should do if they are concerned about losing ridership is have a reduced rate for Metro customers. That way they can track usage, get income to cover the cost of providing the space, and the riders will understand that they get a break on the cost because they are customers.
I just have never understood why “free” parking is such a big deal. We pay for literally everything else. And in many cases, we pay for parking at incredibly high rates.
It costs more to park than to see a hockey game, more than a ticket at a Dodger game, and more than the cheap seats at the Hollywood Bowl. So what do people do? They either pay it, or look for alternative ways to get to the event.
If you build it, they will come. No one decides not to go to the game or the concert or, frankly, out to dinner because you have to pay for parking. Sorry, if such decisions are made, it’s usually because of a really bad team record, the fact that you just can’t stand Madonna, or poor food.
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I have been following the folly of the city of Escondido, CA. They want to introduce on-street parking restrictions in their neighborhoods. Seems a lot of people in the Southern California community near San Diego have more than a couple of cars and park them on the streets, causing mayhem for their neighbors. The city wants to limit the number of cars you can park on the street overnight to two.
The chamber of commerce and property-owner groups are up in arms and say the problem really isn’t that bad, and after all, folks might have to clean out their garages or, horrors, sell some of their vehicles.
My comment is the same as it was a year ago when this first came up. Charge for on-street parking in the neighborhoods. Give folks a single on-street permit and then tell them they have to pay for any over one.
This is the solution. The money generated would more than pay for the program. People would be motivated to clean out their garages and sell their junker cars. And those who didn’t want to would simply have to pony up a few bucks each month for the right to use the city streets to store their belongings.
All these homes have garages, and garages are for cars. They are putting the cars in the streets and storing “stuff” in the garages. In effect, the streets are being used to store their “stuff.”
The idea of charging for on-street parking in residential neighborhoods has never been discussed, I believe, in Escondido. I don’t know the numbers, but the map in the reference in the article looks like a pretty large area to me. If 500 homes put up 25 bucks a month, that’s 150k a year. Certainly enough to run the program (taking into account fines and etc.).
My guess is that there would be money left over to fund cleanup in parks, tree planting, new lighting, and the like. Sold that way, my guess is that the folks in those neighborhoods wouldn’t see it as such a problem.

Will it come to pass? Not in our lifetime, at least not in Escondido.

Article Abstract from October, 2008




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