(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 9, 2013)
Changes to the parking system have been creating confusion and frustration throughout Ferndale’s parking lots. The new central pay stations went live last week, leaving some visitors literally out in the cold as people waited in line to figure out how to use the multi-space kiosks. The new machines come along with higher parking rates, further upsetting visitors are used to putting a quarter in at their respective space and walking away.
Several complaints have come up, and in response the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) sent emails to local businesses to let them know that they have heard the complaints and what their response is to each. Here’s what they had to say:
“Lines at the Pay Station – These will go away once we’ve gotten thru the learning curve. In the meantime, users can pay at any pay station, anywhere in the city. They can also add time to their parking session at any pay station, with any coin, paper, plastic or soon, Parkmobile.
Underlit Pay Stations – We’re working on it. DDA Executive Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius and Loyd Cureton, DPW Director, are reviewing pay station locations to determine which ones need lights and which ones have enough ambient light. Lighting will be installed where needed and where possible.
Wouldn’t Take My Credit Card – Turned out to be American Express, and the stations do not take it. All other cards are accepted.
The Pay Station is Broken – Not really. So far, glitches have resulted when patrons accidently put their credit card in the bill slot. We have tried to fix this with additional signage on the machines. Seems to be working.
Is Anybody Paying Attention? Daily. Between the DDA and the Luke II install crew, the system is being monitored for issues and will continue to be monitored throughout the installation period and beyond. We are resolving issues as they arise.
Not Enough Pay Stations – Attached is a map that you might print out and share with your customers, identifying the location of all 20 pay stations. Nothing has changed with on-street parking.
No Change Given – That’s true. The Pay Stations are CLEARLY labeled that no change can or will be given, nor are there refunds.
About Tickets – Enforcement officers are giving out courtesy tickets to patrons, explaining more about the system and how to use it. The courtesy tickets are yellow, but they are using the red parking ticket envelopes.”
DDA Executive Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius told The Ferndale 115 News “We are doing absolutely everything we can to make this a fast transition and address people’s concerns as soon as possible. We are listening to all of the comments and tweaking the system as we go. We will also assess future needs as we go such as the need for additional units. We know that the first few weeks will be the roughest, but we ask everyone to be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. We are here to help. The benefits for customers when everything is up and running seamlessly, is that consumers can use multiple means to pay for parking, they can extend by phone or at the station even if you don’t have Parkmobile, and tickets will become a thing of the past. On the government end there a numerous benefits to efficiencies, track ability and accountability.”
Communications Manager Chris Hughes added “Good things sometimes take a little time to become really good. This system, ultimately, is awesome and will be a huge convenience for customers and businesses. It is the trending system across the nation.” Similar systems are in place in neighboring cities like Detroit and Royal Oak.
Park Plus is part of long-range planning for the parking in Downtown Ferndale. The system went before City Council for a vote and there were opportunities for public comment. A detailed description of the program was covered by Ferndale 115 in our article http://ferndale115.com/nuevo/2013/01/11/downtown-parking-system-plans-proceed/, which includes a history of the parking discussions and the rates which were approved Jan. 14. Ultimately the DDA hopes that a parking structure will be built to help alleviate the parking shortage that takes place on busy nights.
Ferndale Park Plus has its own website: http://www.ferndaleparkplus.com/.