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Creative Parking Permits for all Street Parking and Per Use Fees for Public Parking Facilities

Require parking permits for all parking on streets and public parking facilities on; use modern technology for easy fee collection

Photo of Dan Hafeman
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Written by

Dan Hafeman

How are you connected to Sunnyvale?

  • I live in Sunnyvale.

What type of applicant are you?

  • Community member

Stage of Development.

  • Early concept or idea (<few months of work)

What problem are you aiming to solve? (100 words)

To discourage the use of cars and to promote alternative forms of transit, public parking should be charged either via permits, in residential neighborhoods, or high tech per use parking fees.

Tell us more about your climate strategy or solution (500 words)

Paid parking permits aims to discourage the use of street and public parking facilities. Charging for parking in commercial pockets is generally not done because people will then park in residential areas, where parking is free, and then walk to their commercial business. But if paid permits are required everywhere, then the option of parking in a neighborhood is at risk of a traffic fine. Residents can buy permits which work within a defined area of their homes. Visitors can borrow a permit from the people they are visiting, or they can park on the private property of the residence. This now enables per use charging of parking fees in public lots. Free parking encourages the use of automobiles. Today, the cost of maintaining parking facilities and street parking is indirectly paid by all residents and shoppers including those of us who bike, walk, and/or use transit to get around. Parked cars are among the most dangerous obstacles for bicyclists due to dooring danger. Free parking on arterial streets has hindered the implementation of bike lanes which discourages the use of bicycles, especially for new bicyclists. The plastic bag ban has shown us that charging a small fee can dramatically reduce the usage of a resource.

Collected fees should be directed to alternative forms of transit, including bus and autonomous electric vehicle networks (in the future), and completion of the bicycle infrastructure.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (100 words)

Over time, people will explore more alternatives to driving in order to avoid parking fees. In addition, the fees will fund projects which improve biking, walking, or using transit. It opens the possibility of Sunnyvale funding its own shuttle system. Instead of building more parking garages, invest in low carbon transit options.

Explain how your idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale (700 words)

A small electronic street parking permit device would be placed in each car with a permit. This device could emit the account number (much like a clipper card today) of the owner, and the neighborhood it is assigned to. The police officer just drives down the street and is notified when a parked car does not emit the proper code. Public parking facilities can use already proven time of use parking technology. It could be enhanced to also use the parking permit device to charge the account when the car leaves the garage.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (250 words)

Fees can start low but increase in time to reduce public parking by at least 50% and raise funds for transit projects. It is a start towards discouraging automobile use in the city especially for shopping, restaurants, etc. It also encourages owners to get rid of the old gas guzzlers which are hardly driven but which take valuable driveway space on private property forcing the cars which are frequently used onto the street. Please note that these excess cars are often substandard in terms of pollution equipment, and often leak oil. I believe these fees can some day fund an autonomous electric car network which shuttles people around the city further reducing private automobile usage.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of people affected. (250 words)

Initially, we need to reach public officials, namely staff leaders and council members. Any idea which in any way hinders the continued usage of private gasoline powered automobiles is very unpopular with public officials. (Just consider the death of Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino. The private automobile won). But if Cap2 has a chance to succeed, then car usage must be dramatically reduced. So, as part of Cap2, this bold proposal must be put forth. Public officials who want it to succeed, should be convinced. Then a public outreach as part of a near future study issue could convince a larger percentage of our public. I am encouraged by the recently implemented food scrap program. Most of the outcry has calmed down and the program so far is working fine. Sunnyvale residents are troupers.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (500 words)

Other cities have city wide permit parking systems. Technology already in use for clipper, automated bridge tolls, and per use paid car lanes can be adapted to make a city with permit parking system implementable without considerable staff effort.

But no work has been done. This idea is simply in my head as a citizen

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (300 words)

The next step is to include it in Cap2. Then a public volunteer group, such as Sunnyvale Cool, can work with the Sustainability Commission to submit a study issue. Once we have an approved study issue, staff time can be spent examining how other cities have implemented city wide paid parking and look into adopting newer technology. And then Council has to approve the study issue.

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  • Yes, share my contact information

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Photo of Isabella Rosado
Team

Awesome idea Dan Hafeman - I really like your comparison of this idea to the plastic bag. Could you elaborate on how this idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale? For instance, are there different prices for buying a permit (electric vehicle vs. gas-guzzler)? And how would this parking permit idea be enforced most effectively?