Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hoboken Parking Meters - coming soon to a neighborhood near you?

The new Hoboken parking meters are a great success.  More cars are able to park on our major thoroughfare of Washington Street and people have a variety of options to pay with more coming.  In addition, the corruption looting more than four million quarters is removed and revenues are predicted to increase by seven figures.

So it's a win win right?  Well not exactly.  A pilot program is being contemplated for testing with the intent of expanding the headless horse all around town - meaning every corner of Hoboken.

Originally broached as a means to move away from the four hour signs where confusion has led to much bad will, the answer to that question does not lie anytime soon with these parking meters being installed wall to wall across the City.

MSV has proposed a minor change to the current signage to minimize confusion on the four hour parking limit.  A sticker could be made and adhered to all the existing signs saying "4 hour rule applies Citywide."  That would end the nuisance of low brow media being brought in to do staged runs in and out of town to show their victimization and remove the confusion.  

Are these headless horse meters plotting to take over the whole City?  Based on a pilot program expanding its use, that appears to be the intent.  It's not the best idea for Hoboken and will destroy the character of neighborhoods.

The problem with the four hour sign isn't so much the sign but that an old policy was not being enforced and people were taking advantage of that knowledge to move a vehicle around the corner to escape the boot.  But how does a pilot program putting parking meters on every block in the City help?

It doesn't.

Putting the new parking meters on every block of the City will harm the character of Hoboken and lessen the sense of community and neighborhood.  Hoboken will be an extended parking lot of parking meters and while it could put an end to the hated four hour parking limit for visitors, it's nowhere near doing so anytime soon and removes character from this town in ways which can never be recovered.

Some additional thought should be given to dealing with the four hour signage and the pilot on the parking meters should be weighed against broader polling methods from the community.  MSV's inexpensive solution should be given consideration as well.

There's a lot more at stake than the four hour sign.  Hoboken's neighborhoods don't deserve to see these headless horses stamped all over the blocks of their homes.  That doesn't even begin to address how simple increases can be imposed, a temptation too easy to entertain.