Reader Mail: Parking Permits
Figured this would be a good place to discuss this year’s parking permit renewal. In case you’re wondering, that last-minute insert was discussed at the City Council meeting of 1/2/2008.
Below is the letter from Mayor Roberts and the rate increase insert.
See the official renewal form (why can’t we renew online?) and an original letter of complaint from a non-vehicle owning reader after the jump.
More after the jump.
In today’s Hoboken411 reader mail segment, we have a resident who feels they’re being overcharged for daily parking permits, just because they do not own a vehicle and rent one occasionally. The letter was addressed to John Corea, copying Mayor Roberts, Council members Russo & Zimmer, 411 and the other town paper.
See my thoughts after the letter.
“Dear Mr. Corea:
I am writing to bring to your attention the fact that the Hoboken Parking Utility impermissibly charges residents without cars more for parking in Hoboken than residents with
Residents without cars are forced to purchase “guest” or visitor parking permits to park on Hoboken streets. These parking permits costs $3.00 each, or $3.00 per day. Residents with cars, on the other hand, are able to purchase “resident parking permits” for $15.00 per year. My husband and I, homeowners in Hoboken for several years, do not own a car. We believe there are too many cars on the streets in Hoboken, choose not to further pollute the environment, and rely on public transportation. However, we frequently rent cars from local car rental companies for errands and trips out of town. If we rent a car for one day each month, which is a twenty-four hour rental and requires us to park the car overnight on the street using a $3.00 guest parking permit, we spend $36.00 annually. Obviously, this is significantly more than the $15.00 “resident parking permit.”
As a Hoboken resident, I am entitled to the same parking charges as residents with cars. In other words, the cost for parking in Hoboken should be dependent on whether one is a resident – not whether one owns a car. A simple solution to this problem would be to allow residents without vehicles to purchase resident parking permits for the same price. Such parking permits would not need to be stuck or affixed to a car; rather they could be placed in a vehicle like a hang tag or simply placed on the car of a dashboard. The solution to this problem is not complicated. It only requires some “thinking outside of the box” by Hoboken officials.
Given the parking and traffic problems in this town as well as the environmental problems caused by vehicle emissions, Hoboken officials should do more to encourage its residents not to use and own vehicles. To be sure, the Parking Utility should not be charging residents without cars more than residents with cars to park on the street that all of our tax dollars go to maintain. Further, residents who do not own their own cars use much less street parking –unlike people who own cars and park them on the street daily.
If this problem is not promptly remedied, I will investigate the possibility of filing a lawsuit on behalf of residents without cars who are being overcharged for parking in our city.
I look forward to hearing from you with a solution to this discrepancy.
Very truly yours,
Regardless if I agree with this idea or not, here are the potential issues I foresee:
- The city would hate to reduce revenue for the HPU.
- Yep, they’d have to “think outside the box,” and create a new process. Instead of a license plate or VIN number, the permit-holders phone number would probably be the point of contact. The city currently uses State databases to determine owner contact information of vehicles if they need to. They’d have to create a new database if they wanted to contact the person responsible for these rental cars. Also, what about folks coming to visit these permit-holders.. can they use these hang-tags too?
- What about the residents that only use a temporary permit once or twice a year? Won’t they be outraged if they now have to pay more all-of-a-sudden? Or would the old process still remain in effect (I guess it’d have to for non-residents.)
- The reason temp-tags have a specific vehicle attached to it, is to prevent duplication and fraud. How would you manage these hang-tags? If I saw one in someone’s windshield, I can go home, create one in Photoshop, and use the same number. How will they know if it’s authorized? Ah, you’d still probably have to go down to city hall and sign some form advising what car is attached. The only way around this is to investigate whether our RFID company can make chip-enabled non-permanent tags that can’t be duplicated. How much would it cost?
- Lastly, a more immediate alternative would be to reduce the cost of these temp tags for residents to $1.00, and raise the cost for non-residents to $5 or even $10. This would require no major changes in the system.
Have a nice day!