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Free riverfront parking on the council’s agenda

You may soon be able to park two hours for free — during the day — at the city-owned lots along the riverfront.

On the city council agenda this coming Tuesday is a proposal to change the way fees are charged for the Michel/Edgewater/Liberty and Riverfront Village parking lots. Currently, these lots are staffed during the day with parking attendants and you pay a set rate for every half hour you’re parked weekdays during working hours.

Under the proposed fee structure, there would be no gates or attendants and you would be allowed two hours of free parking at these lots weekdays during working hours. If you parked longer than two hours, you would get a parking ticket. (Incidentally, if you don’t pay your parking ticket, the city approved an ordinance at their last meeting that authorizes the city to send unpaid parking tickets to a collection agency instead of through the courts.)

The Peoria Riverfront Association requested the parking fee change as a way to increase patronage of riverfront businesses and save the city money. The city incurred a net loss of $2,235 in 2005 because the cost of staffing full-time attendants exceeded revenues from parking fees. Much of the revenue comes from businesses who pay for their customers’ parking through ticket validation.

The city would enforce the two-hour limit by having a part-time city employee monitor the lots using a handheld license plate scanner from ParkTrak which basically allows the monitor to do “electronic tire chalking.” Barney Fife would have loved this gadget:

With ParkTrak Pro’s handheld License Plate Recognition technology, a flick of the chalkstick is turned into a click of the trigger. Each click records plate, date, time, and location, while simultaneously comparing duration of stay, distance moved (if any), and scofflaw status. Officers are automatically prompted to issue a ticket when a vehicle reaches overtime status. Flexible software allows for an individual license number’s total time duration to be calculated by stall, block face, street, programmable distance or zones. Added benefits include capturing a wealth of parker statistical data, and best of all electronic chalk marks… THAT CAN’T BE WIPED AWAY…

But before you get too excited about that free two-hour parking, it’s only being proposed on a one-year trial basis, so it may not last long. In any case, it will be done away with when the new museum is built. City Manager Randy Oliver says, “This is a short term solution and will not work upon completion of the Museum project.”

4 comments to Free riverfront parking on the council’s agenda

  • The Mouse

    Free parking downtown, now there’s an idea that’s about 30 years too late. oh, well, better late than never.

  • This sounds like a no-brainer. We lose money because the cost of employing the meter-maids are higher than the revenue coming in. What is the additional revenue lost because people don’t want to come downtown and have to pay for parking??

    This is a nice development, but what’s the point if they’re going to do away with it when the museum is built? Nice tease…

    I can only hope that this will be successful and that it might stick around, even after the museum is built.

  • Scott Creedy

    You mean IF the museum gets built! They seem to be a “few” million short. We will see what happens when, the thus far silent, masses of Peoria wake up and realize what a waste this particular museum is going to be. Duck decoys anybody?!!?

    SC

  • […] Second, I found the rhetoric during the parking discussion fascinating.  The council decided on a 9-2 vote to offer free parking for two hours at a time during the day (see my previous post for more details), but only after a lot of discussion.  During that discussion, some council members talked about how people would rather walk a couple blocks for free parking than pay for the parking that is closest to the business they’re patronizing. […]