The 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?