New Rochelle Library Parking Pay Stations Finally Fixed After Four Months

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New Rochelle Library Parking Pay Stations Finally Fixed After Four Months

September 22, 2011 - 14:54

LibraryParkingMeterBrokenThe parking pay stations at the library lot have finally been fixed and enforcement resumed on Monday.

When asked during the first week of September about the parking pay stations, New Rochelle spokesperson Kathy Gilwit said, "Parts are on the way and machines will be prepared as soon as possible".

"On the way"? How were they being shipped, a slow boat from China? Has FedEx and UPS gone out of business?

In a world of Just-in-Time Delivery and overnight and even same day express shipping, it is impossible to understand how, four months after the parking pay stations in the New Rochelle Public Library parking lot were vandalized and rendered inoperable, the City had still not repaired the machines.

The City is going broke but giving away tens of thousands of dollars in parking revenue? Something is seriously wrong here.

Average weekly revenue for the library lot is $1,200, according to Gilwit. The machines were first vandalized over the winter. They were in operable for 4 weeks in February and March and have been inoperable for 17 weeks from May to September. The cost of parts to repair the vandalized machines is $4,700 (damage from vandals is not covered under the manufacture warranty). Combined, the City has lost over $25,000 in parking revenue and will spend $9,400 in repairs for a tool cost of about $35,000.

The City did not disclose the amount of parking fines collected before and after the vandalism but it is certainly lower even though the City initiated "chalking" of tires after the second attack on the machines.

The technique used is simple, quick and totally destroys the inner workings of the machines. No one has been caught vandalizing a machine. All of the vandalism has occurred since the City went to 24/7 parking enforcement in the downtown area. Together, this suggests that simply fixing the damaged machines will only be a prelude to further vandalism, more losses and increased expenses.

The response by parking officials to previous Talk of the Sound stories has been to investigate the source of the "leak", demanding to know who told Talk of the Sound about the broken pay stations. As the photo above shows, there have been signs placed on the pay stations since February stating the machines are broken. Everyone who uses those lots (including me) has seen the signs. It doesn't take Woodward and Bernstein to figure out this one. Perhaps instead of spending more time trying to plug imaginary leaks, the parking officials might want to work on actually fixing the machines.

Given all the community interest in the shift to 24/7 parking enforcement in downtown New Rochelle and the absolute failure these vandalism incidents represent, residents are entitled to some meaningful explanation by City officials as to why these easily-destroyed machines were selected, why the City is working with a vendor who appears unable to provide replacement parts in anything approaching a reasonable time frame and how lessons learned from this disastrous approach to addressing parking issues in downtown will be applied in making future decisions. For starters, whoever selected these machines needs to appear before the City Council prepared to get tough questions and give honest, detailed answers.

What do you think?

There are 2 Comments

Another city failure! Why is it that in White Plains if a machine breaks down any time of the day they have people to fix it.
Only in New Rochelle do we buy junk because this city always goes cheap on there bids.These machines are garbage they are not made for this kind of use. Good job New Rochelle.

Here's an idea, why doesn't DPW figure out how to cover its road salt so it doesn't wash out into Long Island Sound for a savings of $50,000 or so per year and get rid of some of these parking meters? Wouldn't that make New Rochelle a little friendlier? Maybe people might start shopping here, maybe not. Another idea might be to have a 10 minute free button on all parking meters like Yonkers has. Right now there's little reason for most to go downtown.

Also why do we need parking meters in the city hall lot? That's not very friendly for anyone trying to do business with or in New Rochelle.