Town Square

Add pay-by-phone parking to downtown RPPP

Original post made by Steve Raney, Crescent Park, on Dec 10, 2013

This is a simple-to-implement variation on the Downtown Residential Parking Permit Program (RPPP) concept (Web Link). This variant has downtown workers pay-by-phone for access to parking spaces on each weekday they park downtown, while residents park based on annual permits. This variation reduces more worker trips to downtown.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2013 at 7:29 am

Like this idea, but for one thing. Do lower paid workers have smart phones and credit cards?

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Posted by Steve Raney
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2013 at 8:37 am

If the City decides to study implementation of a pay-by-phone system, then there should be a focus group with some downtown retail workers. I know WFM has a place at the table within the downtown parking process - the system has to work for those workers. Some baristas and wait staff should participate in the focus group. These workers arrive at various times, so managing demand to keep convenient spaces open for them is important. If someone arrives downtown 10 minutes before work and becomes late because they are cruising for parking, that is bad.

In general, a downtown pay-by-phone system will have some PA customizations, so the study needs to identify key user groups and then validate that the design meets their needs.

The penetration of cell phones is high in the US. Low income workers find cell phones essential to manage their lives, so there is no income disparity.

If a low income worker doesn't have a credit card, there are other ways to link funds in the cloud, such as paypal accessing a checking account. But there are foreseeable scenarios where a few low income folks are stumped by such a system. For them, a parking meter would work well. But my sense is the city doesn't have near-term budget for parking meters. Today's high-tech parking meters allow a good set of payment mechanisms.