New Parking Meters, new concerns
Disastrous Municipal Parking Meters!
Many Hoboken411 readers have sent in various gripes and complaints about the new Parking Meter Robots – but one letter stood out above them all, and encompasses almost all the problems that exist!
Letter: New Hoboken parking meters = a total disaster!
In the form of a numbered list (in no particular order):
- Ever try to get a muni meter receipt to stay in place on your dashboard during even a light breeze? In fact, be sure to close your car doors gingerly so you don’t blow the ticket off. In the storm with the wind today it was impossible for me. I had to go into the passenger side rear door of my car to put the ticket in place and get it to stay there.
- My average length of transaction time at the muni meter station? 1:20 when using a credit card. Too long, especially in a driving soaking snow storm with two people waiting behind me.
- Can’t see the machine/buttons at all at night on side street stations. The little map lights are silly and useless. A hooded light on top shinning down would’ve made more sense. Who approved these horribly designed machines?
- Can’t change your mind if you hit the right most Up Arrow button twice – you max out at $2.00 and the ticket prints without you having to hit the green button.
- Machines don’t take bills. Wow.
- Find me a parking attendant that prefers this to meters.
- Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want anyone touching my car and cleaning snow off to see if I have a ticket on my dashboard
- Then when the snow is gone, my windows are fogged in the inside. Probably from having the doors open so much trying to get the ticket to stay in place so much snow/water/moisture got in my car resulting in fog. Maybe I should give the attendants a spare key and a rag so they can wipe the inside of my window so they can see better.
- How are the ticket quota numbers with muni meters in place? Way down, I hear. Mostly because of the slowdown in efficiency in enforcing these things. That’s the word on the street.
- NONE of what I say is a knock against the attendants. I personally have a great relationship with all in my neighborhood and have watched them every day be nothing but fair, polite, professional and helpful. I give them an A+ and the muni meters a C-
- The map on the machines is amateurish and useless. Too small to be effective. Maybe a larger map on the back of the machines would’ve made more sense. Although that is where the advertising will go, when someone other then me thinks of it.
Parking Robots on Washington Street
30 months since the previous Dave Roberts administration began testing more “streamlined” parking solutions on Washington Street, the city will be rolling out one phase of new “cutting edge” parking meters this week from Observer Highway to Eighth St (on the east side).
In this particular setup, one single parking “brain” is on the center of the block, where you pay for a designated amount of time (up to two hours via credit card or coins) and place the receipt on your dashboard. The city claims some benefits are that you can use the time you bought at any of the available spaces, or even share the receipt with other drivers. The city also claims that the non-marked, non-designated parking scheme will add a couple more spaces per block.
Multiple concerns from residents
However, many readers sent in emails over the weekend with some legitimate concerns about the new system.
Parking Fiasco coming soon
Reader Brian (and several others) are concerned with the mayhem that may result by not having designated spots for each car.
“The new autopay parking system has started on Washington street between 1st and 2nd. I hoped that HPA would use the Jersey City model, in which each space has a small sign with a space number.
Unfortunately it looks like they will not have designated spaces, a la Manhattan and Chicago. Ideally this model may allow maybe two extra cars to squeeze into each block. That is in an ideal world.
Unfortunately what we have already is cars poorly parked using two spaces, and I definitely foresee drunks in SUVs on the weekends trying to squeeze into compact size spaces, to the detriment of the bumpers of the surrounding cars. I sure hope Ian Sachs uses defined parking spots to keep Washington street parking organized.”
Computerized system is also susceptible to fraud
411 reader Nick reminds residents to watch out for trickery:
“The city is touting that the new system is automated and fraud-proof. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that wholeheartedly. Computerized systems are even easier to steal from and alter code. How will the city prove that each cash transaction is captured properly? Who will audit the system? Remember that our entire automated financial system is riddled with hacking and thievery!”
411 response: I’d suspect they’ll have transaction numbers to keep things in check, however, you never know if they have the ability to alter the dollar amount entered on the back end “for the books,” and pocket the difference. You’d have to consult a real fraud expert on that.
Meter Stuffing 2.0?
Finally, reader Cheri wonders if meter stuffing will continue.
“One of the main reasons it’s hard to find parking on the Avenue, is because countless drivers (mostly shop employees) feed the meters all day to keep their perfect spot. From what I was told, these receipts can be shared between drivers, so that must mean that nothing is preventing the same meter stuffing that has plagued the city for years. All this progressive technology should come with improvements that eliminate that loophole. I think those meters they were testing in 2008 had cameras on them and prevented extended parking stays. Oh well.”
411 response: From what I understand is that extended parking both then and now is not allowed. Enforcement is the main issue. It’s possible to check for stuffers using chalk markings on the tires, but the question is does the city have the staff to do it?
What do you think of these new meters?