On Thursday October 13th, the Parking Control division of CCPD will begin the rollout of the new parking rates approved by City Council in August of this year. The new rates will range from 25¢ to 75¢ per hour, still far below the state average of $1.25 per hour and unlike most cities in Texas and nationwide meters will still only operate Monday through Friday, 8 AM until 6 PM. In fact, most cities nationwide have extended their collection days through Saturdays and evenings.
The rollout will be phased in over a 2 month period. In the first phase existing electronic meters will be increased to 25¢ and 50¢ across the city, from the current 10¢ to 25¢. As the 300 new credit card meters and 200 additional electronic meters come into inventory, most of the older mechanical meters that are 25 to 50 years old will be phased out. Once all the new meters are in place Phase II will see the 300 credit card meters raised to 75¢. These changes will see the end of one hour meter zones and reduction of time frames to just three standardized time frames of two, four or ten hours.
Unlike most cities, Corpus Christi has been able to make these changes utilizing current city staff. Most cities utilize parking consulting firms for design, layout, implementation and installation of new parking programs costing from $100,000 to $300,000 dollars. Vendors will typically charge $25 per meter to install credit card meters and as much as $18,300 for software and training on electronic meters. Following the mandate of Chief Troy Riggs to be better stewards of our city revenues, the Parking Control division was able to negotiate huge savings to the city during this rollout.
Doing our own design, layout, implementation and installation in-house saved over $100,000 in consulting fees. Using refurbished housings, utilizing web-based training and bundling equipment, which reduced software cost, saved the city an additional $50,000 in up-front money. With these savings the upgraded equipment should pay for itself in less than one year.
The most important aspect of this program is the profit-sharing aspect for downtown revitalization. Most successful cities nationwide turn a significant portion of the profits from parking meter revenue back into downtown revitalization. Texas cities like San Antonio, Austin, Galveston and Houston put the profits back into the community by adding trees, planters, benches, cleaning sidewalks and installing decorative lighting which also increases public safety, into their downtown areas. Each of these cities uses a different means of managing those revitalization dollars. Corpus Christi settled on using an advisory committee similar to Austin, Colorado Springs and Tucson. The committee is made up of a cross-section of representatives from uptown, downtown and Corpus Christi Beach businesses, as well as downtown residential representatives.
“The concept is to use community representatives to advise city council, with city staff as liaisons. In this manner we are able to use the many talents of our local citizens to participate in the look of our city center areas. These type programs have been successful in every city utilizing them and there is no reason to suspect that with the combined talent of our citizens and city staff we can’t accomplish the same success in Corpus Christi”, said Marc Denson, Parking Control Supervisor.