City Complicates Parking
Parking as complicated as cell phone plans
But for those that can afford it, there are many garage options available – both from private companies, as well as city-run garages. Having your own reserved spot in any of garages in town usually is in the neighborhood of $275 – $300.
Besides regular (grossly over-priced) hourly parking – some spots in city garages are for monthly parkers.
However, the city has recently begun over-complicating the process and trying to squeeze each last penny from the system – at the same time touting them as “savings” for you.
Let’s take the recently introduced “Resident Monthly Limited” plan. At Garage B for instance, the usual monthly rate for an unreserved spot is $235. However, you can get a “limited” monthly spot for $180/month. But to qualify for the limited plan, you must remove the car from the garage during the hours of 10am to 4pm each weekday. The city does indicate you have two days a month where you can leave the car there during those hours. BUT, one thing the city hasn’t specified yet – is what happens when you go three, four or more days? You’ll most likely get hit with the hourly charges – which is up to $30 per day. In other words, you have to be almost PERFECT about it – or end up paying much more.
Business Parking Permits
Right now, the city charges local shop owners $200 per year for a business permit. This allows you to park on non-metered side-streets in Hoboken. Most business owners try and find spots like these FIRST (pictured above on Washington Street between 9th & 10th – 80% of the cars had business permits in the windows).
The next alternative is parking in a metered spot close to their business (and consequently “stuffing” the meters every two hours). This is easy for many local biz owners because a number of them arrive right after the street cleaner passes, with countless spots available. Business owners also like parking close to their stores, because it saves them time – and allows them quick access in case they need to run trips throughout the day. But they’ll always look for free spots first.
Recently, the city implemented a plan that allows businesses to purchase 12-hour parking permits to use at one of the three city garages (all downtown 4th street or below). These permits cost $5 per day (in addition to the $200 annual biz permit.) The city also offered an alternative to paying for both annual and daily permits – a “free” business permit that gives owners the opportunity to buy the discounted daily passes – but they can no longer park on side streets all day.
While this may sound on paper like a great idea – and that in theory would “free up parking for customers,” I have my doubts because it is just more confusing government policies and regulations.
- It’s human nature when driving to a destination in Hoboken to find a spot closest to where you’re going.
- Few businesses will try to save $200 a year – but remove their ability to park on side streets.
- The downtown garages in effect, will only be attractive options for the businesses in the immediate vicinity.
Keep it simple, stupid!
If you really wanted widespread adoption of a parking program – make it as simple and affordable as possible. A “$3 a day” savings for people (most of whom try to avoid the meters if possible anyway) isn’t going to persuade them to inconveniently park in a garage that may be much further away than they’d prefer.
And the fact that daily passes are sold individually – and you need to schlep to city hall each time you run out – is another added nuisance. A better idea would be to have insanely low business parking rates at these garages. Somewhere around $300 a year would be much more attractive to biz owners, and require less “administration,” paper, and staffing at city hall. The increased business participation would take substantially more cars “off the street.”
If making parking more plentiful for shoppers in Hoboken was truly their goal (and not finding ways to milk the system as much as possible) – bolder steps would be taken.
But then again, who wants simple and easy? Someone has to justify (and keep) their job!