Smart Parking Spending and Common Council Meeting 3/7!

This Tuesday the Common Council will be attempting its third vote to bond the $125,000 to purchase parking kiosks. We ask all interested parties to attend Tuesday’s 7:30pm meeting at City Hall to voice your opinion. Time is of the essence to ensure smart decisions are made about the future of parking in Kingston.

 

For those of you who followed this story from the beginning, you may be aware that the Mayor wisely formed a parking work group to convene and plan a solution to Kingston’s parking deficiencies. The Mayor has reviewed the 30 applicants and made decisions about who he is inviting to join the work group.

 

But the group is only just being formed. Now is NOT the time to be making decisions about the future of parking in Kingston by bonding for the kiosks. Let the parking work group meet and perform its duty. To do otherwise would be financially irresponsible, particularly in light of the known issues with the use of Parkeon Kiosks by other cities.

 

The Common Council members may not be experts on parking so that’s why we’ve taken our time to do some research for them. While there may not be a completely bulletproof system, we demand to know that the city has fully researched the issues that others have had with Parkeon and their accompanying Whoosh app, and decided that this parking system is in fact the best parking system, or to let the parking work group undertake this task.

 

Technology changes fast these days. Anyone with a smartphone knows how quickly new technology comes our way requiring upgrades and new installs. Sometimes these upgrades are expensive. In neighboring Syracuse, NY, Parkeon informed the city they would have to spend 2.4 million dollars to buy brand new kiosks only two years after purchasing their original kiosks from them. The company changed their communications platform rendering the credit card feature useless and turning them into very expensive coin operated parking meters. How long will Parkeon guarantee these kiosks? The Mayor is asking for $125,000 this year, but how much will he request in the next few years to replace the existing street meters throughout the city? Let’s not run the risk of additional expenses to maintain the parking technology. Let’s spend our money wisely!

 

The electronic kiosks are prone to failure. For anyone who’s traveled to NYC and tried to find a parking meter that works, you understand the realities of this. Wired magazine covered this issue back in 2009. This is what happens when you use technology, it’s prone to assault, whether it’s running a magnet across the electronic system or some other form of hacking. Is the City of Kingston prepared to manage this? Let’s not waste our City’s finite human resources on managing problems that we could avoid from the outset. Let’s spend our money wisely!

 

The Whoosh app may cause as many problems as it solves. The accompanying Whoosh app has it’s own set of potential internal malfunctions, also adding to the burden on Kingston for upkeep, maintenance and troubleshooting. Here’s just one example of what Syracuse had to contend with implementing Whoosh. Did we mention there’s an additional $.35 fee each time you use Whoosh? In case you’re not hearing our plea, let’s spend our money wisely!

 

Kingston does not have the infrastructure nor the financial strength of Cities like Syracuse and New York City. It’s quite possible, that Kingston does not need a parking system like these two cities either. There are other options available to our welcoming City, options that are in fact less expensive than the kiosks. We know; we’ve done the research. We are asking the Common Council to spend our money wisely and ensure that the research has been done before bonding another $125,000. The parking group's study should come first BEFORE spending tax dollars to buy kiosks. We can find a solution that we know is fiscally responsible if we spend some time working together on it.