Doug Hausladen came to East Rock looking to make an elusive sale: a flexible parking space designed to bridge the gap between meter-wary merchants who need more on-street parking and neighbors who want to park their cars on the streets where they live.
Hausladen, New Haven’s transit chief, got permission to start selling these parking spaces more than a year ago, when the city amended the code of ordinances to allow for selling business restricted parking spaces on residential side streets.
Since then, Hausladen has pitched different neighborhoods on the idea. So far, no takers.
Monday night he made the pitch again, at a meeting of the East Rock Community Management Team at mActivity Gym on Nicoll Street.
He said the new business permit was inspired by a parking system already in place in Somerville, Mass. (See the video above for an explanation of how the Somerville system works.)
“Let’s say Street X has 100 parking spaces total,” Hausladen explained. “At night, 90 of them are taken up by residential parking. During the daytime, maybe 40 of them go to work, leaving a supply of like 50 parking spaces.”
With the written permission of a neighborhood’s alder, which is required for this system, the city can choose to sell access to a select number of those floating, available residential parking spaces for a set period of time each day. Customers would go to a portal on the city’s website and buy daily, weekly, monthly, or annual permits for a specific street.
According to the ordinance, annual permits cost $360, monthly permits cost $40, weekly permits cost $12, daily permits cost $3, and a 10-day booklet costs $25.
Although no neighborhoods have opted into this program yet, Hausladen said it would be a good way to boost the parking-related revenue that the city brings in while also working towards solving the dearth of public parking in the Upper State Street area.
Neighbors at Monday night’s meeting seemed tentatively interested in the proposal, if only as a source for additional revenue that might make its way back into the neighborhood.
“If there was a proposal that part of the revenue stream go to parking enforcement, that might help” win neighborhood support, suggested ERCMT member Kevin McCarthy.
Hausladen asked the group to mull the idea over and bring him questions and concerns about the proposal by next month’s ERCMT meeting. No alders were present at Monday night’s meeting, and no one present expressed enthusiasm about the idea.
Hausladen said that the Board of Alders would ultimately get to decide how to spend any money that would come in to the city through this program. He said he would advocate for having some kind of special local transportation lock box for investing in projects like bus shelter maintenance and sidewalk bump-outs, as well as alternative transportation in the neighborhoods from which the revenue comes.
Sounds like a good idea. You have a valuable resource (parking spots) being unused and a potential revenue generator for a neighborhood.
The question is, what happens to the money? Who manages it? The local Alder? How is accountability setup to make sure the neighborhood gets a voice in how the money is spent? And who makes sure enforcement is done so people aren’t parking there after hours?
posted by: Colin Ryan on September 27, 2017 1:34pm
This system sounds like a bit of over-engineering for the problem that is trying to be solved. If you have extra spots during the day, why not just decide not to enforce parking zone restrictions during the day and use signage that will reflect that after 5pm, or whatever time, zoned parking will be strictly enforced. This would be simpler and would avoid having to setup the spot selling program or having to keep the city accountable for allocating the new revenue back to neighborhood needs.
posted by: 1644 on September 27, 2017 3:39pm
This system is way too complex. Personally, I just stay away from businesses in neighborhoods like State Street. I used to enjoy going to Christopher Martin’s, Modern, etc. However, the residential parking signs state pretty clearly that outsiders’ patronage is not welcome at State Street businesses. That’s fine. There are lots of great places I can go to in the suburbs with free parking.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 27, 2017 5:05pm
Again Take Back New Haven Doug Hausladen your next Mayor selling Snake-Oil and Three Card Monte.Completely flawed idea.In fact this was take from the play book of Mayor Bloomberg who try to do the same think in New York.If you need immediate access to your car in order to maintain your livelihood, then I suggest you rent/buy a home with a garage or parking lot on the property, not try to license public land for your private, personal use.
posted by: Eva G on September 27, 2017 5:44pm
BrowneTowne, it was in fact mentioned during the meeting that Anna Festa (ward 10 alder) wasn’t at the meeting Monday night because she was at a Finance Committee meeting. Sometimes they overlap and there’s not much she can do about it, the Finance Committee takes priority over the ERMT meetings. No clue as to where the other alder was but possibly at that same meeting?
posted by: jim1 on September 27, 2017 6:00pm
NO…. But I would like to pick up some swamp land in Florida.
posted by: __quinnchionn__ on September 27, 2017 8:37pm
Some businesses should have their own parking lot. Sometimes residents who park on the streets would use other forms of transportation to get to work. (Not always their car.) Especially if they are walking distance to where they work from where they live. People who live in the city could live close to where they work but still own a vehicle, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll drive.
posted by: 1644 on September 28, 2017 9:47am
Quin: You say businesses should have their own parking lots. Fine. How about area residents? Should area residents who need parking not rent or own their own parking, i.e., rent/buy housing with its own driveway and or garage? As a practical matter, I understand that residents vote, which is why the city has decided to give them residents parking stickers at no cost, but on a philosophical matter, I don’t see why the city should favor residents over businesses in allocating public resources. Does the city not need businesses as much or more than it needs residents?
posted by: Kevin McCarthy on September 28, 2017 12:27pm
Colin, money is in fact part of the issue. The desire for neighborhood improvements exceeds the available budget, across the city. This is one way for paying for these improvements. It is also a way for local businesses to obtain parking for their employees.
1644, the residential parking zone in East Rock is on the side streets, not State Street. There is a public parking garage (Granite Square) at the south end of State Street and a public lot on the north end (behind Chestnut Foods).
posted by: __quinnchionn__ on September 28, 2017 1:45pm
My point is that there just isn’t enough parking for everyone who drives to park on the street. I doubt that residents would want to leave, go to work and then come back home and notice that a random vehicle is parked where they usually be. Not everyone has driveways or their own private parking… (Not all residents with vehicles)
posted by: Colin Ryan on September 28, 2017 3:08pm
@Kevin - If the problem to be solved is lack of funding for neighborhood improvements, I would again say this is not a great approach. It’s overly complicated for that purpose and it’s just a roundabout tax on businesses. If the proposed solution to the problem is to raise funds from local businesses, why not just apply an upfront neighborhood improvement tax on businesses instead?
posted by: 1644 on September 28, 2017 3:47pm
quinn: Just as not all residents have driveways/parking, not all businesses have parking. Why should the onus be on businesses to provide parking for their needs rather than residents? As I said earlier, the residents vote, businesses don’t (always), so the BoA, mayor and all have said, screw the businesses, we shall take care of the residents.
posted by: Cove'd on September 29, 2017 12:54pm
Some food for thought:
-State Street is attractive because of its density, urban feel, and number of businesses and restaurants. You don’t get that in the suburbs because in the boring ‘burbs the density is replaced by parking lots.
-Thus, parking is a limited resource here as in most attractive urban places. Limited resources often require managing.
-In terms of on-street parking, at the end of the day it is the City that owns the street right-of-way and here they are looking into ways to better manage this public resource. I applaud that.