New Rochelle Library Parking Pay Stations Vandalized, Damage and Lack of Enforcement Will Cost City Over Ten Thousand Dollars

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New Rochelle Library Parking Pay Stations Vandalized, Damage and Lack of Enforcement Will Cost City Over Ten Thousand Dollars

March 07, 2011 - 23:36

LibraryParkingMeterBrokenAfter a year long campaign to institute 24/7 parking in the downtown area in New Rochelle, three parking pay stations in the New Rochelle Public Library parking lot were vandalized and rendered inoperable. Average weekly revenue for the library lot is $1,200, according to City Spokesperson Kathy Gilwit.

"We are awaiting replacement parts to repair three meters vandalized during the week of Feb. 14 and subsequently inoperable", said Gilwit.

The City appears to have gone into damage control mode over the broken parking pay stations.

When the City proposed overhauling the Library lots in 2009, replacing parking meters with new parking pay stations with credit card payment processing, city officials claimed that the pay stations were better, stronger and easier to maintain. City Manager Chuck Strome claimed the parking pay stations would generate more revenue because, according to Strome, people will pay more when they use their credit card. Parking for an hour costs 50 cents. The parking pay stations do not give change so drivers who insert a dollar bill intending to pay for one hour will pay for two hours but only receive one hour of parking.

New Rochelle Parking Manager George Rainone said the new machines could be more easily serviced because the vendor was located nearby.

The machines were vandalized by someone spraying glue or some similar substance into the openings on the machine for dollar bills, credit cards and coins so that it is not possible to make payment.

Vandalism is not covered under the city's service contract so not only is the City out roughly $4,000 in lost parking fee revenue (and counting) but another $4,700 for replacement parts. The City did not disclose the amount of parking fines collected in the lots but the total combined loss to the City is well in excess of $10,000.

Making matters worse, the "local" vendor praised by Ranione does not keep the coin sensors in stock so those parts must be shipped from the manufacturer in Vancouver, British Columbia. As most of the parking pay station revenue for the lot comes in the form of coins, the coin sensors the most critical part of the machine.

The relative ease with which the machines were disabled and the cost and down time is a source of concern among some in City Hall who have begun to realize that while parking meters may require more servicing on a day-to-day basis, disabling any three of the older parking meters will not render they entire parking operation inoperable as is the case with having three pay stations for the entire parking lot.

There are 9 Comments

This is unfortunate and a sad loss of revenue. But vandalism is just a lesser form of terrorism.

What amazes me here though is how and why an officer or meter maid was not in the area. They are usually perched on the spots about to expire with a ticket in hand.

People are frustrated. High rents,no local retail, no parking, no Kool-aid to drink equals unhappy citizens taking out their anger on parking meters.

Robert Cox's picture

The person who did this, whatever their motivation, has now demonstrated that with very little time and effort it is possible to cause thousands of dollars in damage and nullify the parking rules at the library lot, creating a "free parking" area which undermines the City's efforts to increase the cost of parking. Recall, the main motivator was to "encourage" residents in Avalon to rent spaces in the Avalon lots by making a rented space cheaper than parking on the street or in the City lots. For the past few weeks those Avalon residents (along with everyone else) have been parking for free.

The lesson the City needs to learn is that they not only have to install parking pay stations in city lots but (a) put in equipment that is not so easy vandalized and that can generate a time-stamped alert when the machine becomes inoperable; (b) install video surveillance on the machines. With that done, if the machines are vandalized, the police will have a time stamp and can go back and use the video to try to identify the culprit.

From my research into how this sort of thing gets done, one person can "glue" a parking pay station in under 15 seconds. At the library lot, they can hit all three machines in less than two minutes, going from machine to machine. In other words, these machines are easy prey.

If people are renting a spot at Avalon, then wouldnt they be renting at least on a monthly basis?

Vandalism, in this case is not the fault of the city. It is unfortunate situation, and I for one am much happier with these machines then Quarter specific meters. I do hope that the city or the vendor learn and stock extra pieces in the event that this happens again. But to slam the city over this is a stretch.

If the residents of Avalon have there own spaces, why would they valdalize these machines? They wouldn't I think because they already have a spot that they're paying for. And they're not getting anything free either, just another line item on their rent bill.

Robert Cox's picture

I did not blame the City.

What I am saying is that this incident shows they need to do more than simply install the machines. At $40k per machine, with major damage so easy, they need to take steps to protect the machines including surveillance.

That said, I do blame the City for purchasing machines that can be so badly damaged with such relative ease and not taking steps to protect the investment.

Ok let's get this straight the city apporved $40,000 EXTRA MONEY TO GET THESE MACHINES.They break down at least once a month there GREEN friendly low watt and they don't work.Iwatch people every day use these machine's they take to long to spit a ticket and they are a pain to use.Another great idea by our city don't listen to the people who use this lot. And by the way where is Joe Fosina and his crew that wanted 24/7 parking so his resturant can get custermers sorry Joe good food brings business not high prices and 24/7 parking

I parked at the library parking lot and didn't pay since all the meters were broken, still got a $25 ticket!