Change a policy, find 1600 additional on street spaces

I had lunch yesterday with Frank Ching who runs the parking for the City of Santa Monica. He was bubbling all over about a policy change they just put through which has seemed to be a grand success.  They have changed their parking policy to say that parkers can only park for two hours at most of the meters in the city. It is illegal to feed the meters, and with newly installed sensor technology, the meters will not accept more than two hours payment until the vehicle has left the space.

Frank says that this has meant that over 1600 people who where feeding meters and taking prime parking space in the city’s downtown core are now parking in outlying lots and structures. Merchants are ecstatic since now their customers can easily find a parking space, and congestion has been substantially reduced since folks aren’t cruising around looking for a place to park.

They also changed the policy in their parking structures which was ‘first two hours free’ to “first 90 minutes free.”  They had a problem in the lots with folks moving their cars in and out every two hours and parking all day for free. He told me that he stood in front of one of the lots and watched 59 people in one hour make u-turns right in front of him to get the two hours free parking. With the time reduced to 90 minutes, it means people have to come out more often and the incidence has been greatly reduced.

Of course there were the usual complaints, but Frank says they are dropping off and the support of the merchant’s groups has greatly helped in the public relations portion of the project.

Way to go Frank Ching and Santa Monica



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5 Responses to Change a policy, find 1600 additional on street spaces

  1. ed_finnerty says:

    or they could have increased the rates for the meters to create turnover and saved all the money on the sensors

  2. Åke Sandorf says:

    There is a lot a community can do to expand the possibility to find a free parking lot, to manage how long time the car can stand i a lot, how much the lot shall cost depend on how many cars there is looking for a free parking lot a certain time.
    I have this kind of system http://book-p.com/parking who can manage this kind of problem with too few parking lot in a center of a city

  3. John —

    This change goes against the policy popular in some places that turnover doesn’t matter, doesn’t it?

  4. Joe Sciulli says:

    Just wondering what the percent of optimum turnover was on those streets before the policy change, along with the meter rates. Were they doing any parking surveys over the years that would have justified that policy change years ago? Also, did the City pay anything up-front for the sensors, or if they were delivered and installed free of charge, what is the back-end payment arrangement?

    Just one more thing that would be interesting to know: what were the average lengths of stay (parking durations) on the regulations or areas in question before the policy/technology changes? Were folks parking all day on a two-hour reg, or just slightly over the regulated time limit, regardless of what it was? All these metrics and the answers to the questions in the preceding comment would tell the rest of the story, to include the unpaid meter violation and capture rates. If folks were parking all-day with impunity, it’s probably likely that they weren’t diligently re-feeding their meters three times a day (unless they could do so with their cell-phones). So were the meter violation rates also above norms? If so, it probably would go hand in hand with a capture rate that was below norm. Just a hunch. Again, the “before” stats on all of these indicators would be great to know.

  5. Mark Schofield says:

    The sensor that you have deployed which vendor are you using ? Currently we are planning on doing trials with Streetline and IPS (We are upgrading with IPS meters from POM)

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