The Case for Parking Enforcement, an Interview with Paul Toliver

  Parking enforcement is a tricky issue for many cities, who need to balance good will of their citizens with the needs of the community for parking. To explore this issue in greater detail, we sat down with parking enforcement expert Paul Toliver, Streetline’s Field Services Representative, who has over 8 years’ experience in the parking business.

Streetline: Why is parking sometimes not enforced?
Paul: Public relations. Cities don’t want to be so aggressive, they want to foster good relationships with citizens and businesses. Sometimes businesses think parking enforcement prevents people from coming to their business.

Streetline: Why is parking enforcement so important?
Paul: Parking Enforcement promotes turnover, people getting out of spaces so that other people can get in there. Instead of one person using a parking space all day long, you open up the space for multiple people to visit a shopping or business center instead of that one car.

Streetline: What are the effects on merchants if parking isn’t enforced?
Paul: Merchants don’t get the customers they could if parking was enforced. Whether merchants realize it or not, parking enforcement means more people will come to that area and potentially become customers.

Streetline: What are the effects on drivers if parking limits aren’t enforced?
Paul: They’ll never find spaces, they just circle and circle and circle the block, and they’ll never find it. This creates a lot of additional traffic too.

Streetline: Based on your experience, do more people complain to city hall about getting a parking ticket, or do more people complain about there being no available parking?
Paul: Some citizens complain about getting tickets, but more businesses complain to city hall about there being no parking.

Streetline: How does smart parking effect parking regulation compliance and ticket contesting?
Paul: With smart parking, the city can really put up a good argument. With smart parking data the city can show exactly when someone showed up in a parking space, and exactly how long they stayed, down to the second. It can’t really be disputed. It arms city governments with a lot of data to say “no, you really did park over the limit here.” We can arm citizens with information about where to park, when they can and cannot park, giving them more compliance options. The city can target habitual violators and start writing tickets. Eventually compliance in an area will increase due to smart parking. People will comply to avoid these smart parking-generated tickets.

Streetline: Any final thoughts?
 Paul: Some cities enforce parking heavily in a particular area due to complaints, or less heavily if a funeral or parade is in an area. Cities are constantly making judgements on where and when to enforce parking, and the more data they have the more targeted, granular decisions they can make. If they’re going to be making judgements and decisions, the more data they have the better.