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There are costs to implement a permit parking program, for both administrative and enforcement. When a public service is utilized by a limited number of beneficiaries, public finance best-practice favors “user fees” paid by the beneficiaries rather than funding the service from general revenues.
Yes, the Task Force is considering some form of permit discount or exemption for lower-income households.
The Nelsen-Nygaard report strongly favored regularizing the complicated and unequal rules for permit parking throughout Princeton in neighborhoods where this type of control is needed. They advocated for both daytime and overnight parking to be permitted, consistent fees to be charged for permits, and recommended enforcement using license plate recognition technology. The only place our proposal differs from theirs is that Nelson/Nygard felt that selling employee permits, should pay into a fund that would benefit the residents of the streets where employees are welcomed.
The proposed system is really quite simple and boils down to the following three points: 1) allow daytime parking for residents who need it and overnight parking for residents who want it; 2) allow flexible short-term parking for all guests of residents and customers of nearby businesses; 3) allow low-density employee parking only on streets with lower parking demand.
The details of how this is achieved seem complicated in part because the existing system is so convoluted, with many different rules in force varying on a street-by-street basis. As we flesh out the proposed changes, they seem arcane and complex (as can be seen in the side-by-side comparison of existing to new, where one can see multiple sets of rules within each neighborhood being converted to a single set of rules). The proposed system will be much more clear, consistent, and equitable.
It is a misperception that the proposed program creates a new policy to subsidize employee parking. Under our current parking regulations, approximately 185 free spaces are provided on our streets, concentrated in two neighborhoods and utilized almost entirely by employees (mostly in the Tree Streets as well as Witherspoon-Jackson). This is truly subsidized employee parking. The proposed new plan, which is entirely self-funding, puts the onus on employers to fund the employee parking which is currently provided for free. The permit parking proposal does not create, but rather removes existing parking subsidies.
No parking is being proposed in any area which does not already have parking. Cars will need to be relocated to municipal lots during snow events, as is currently the case. Trash collection currently coexists relatively well with parking in many neighborhoods. We are exploring asking residents to place leaf and brush out for collection on the opposite side of the street from parking to resolve current problems with collection.
The PPTF recommendations aim to accommodate affordable parking for employees in a manner that treats all neighborhoods in an equitable manner and places some parking in better proximity to the need in the Central Business District. At present, employee (and customer) cars crowd the streets of some close-in neighborhoods with no restrictions, while other, centrally located neighborhoods have regulations that prohibit all-day on-street parking.
According to numerous studies, cars parked along a roadway actually provide a calming effect on traffic and reduce the speed of car travel and the number and severity of crashes.
Residents can pay online with a credit card. They can also pay in-person at 400 Witherspoon Street with a personal credit card, cash, or check. Prepaid cards purchased at grocery stores, pharmacies, and the like can also be used.
The permit parking system is designed to be self-funding through permit fees. Revenues from citations for violations will go into the general fund.
Passport, the LPR provider, guarantees that the data collected will be stored for only a limited time that is determined by the town, and the information will never be shared or sold. This approach is common practice today for parking enforcement. The Princeton police department can establish policies that they will not request such data for investigative purposes. This technology has been in use for several years in municipalities throughout the country without reported abuses of privacy. Princeton University has recently adopted similar technology for the management of its on-campus parking permit program.
The PPTF has explored these options. However, there is very limited availability of parking garages, and the fees for garages are expensive, more like $10/day instead of $10/month. For retail and restaurant workers, these fees are cost-prohibitive. Plus, the parking garage availability is limited (see pre-Covid levels), and best serves the businesses by offering patron parking.
There are a few private lots available. Most already have made agreements with businesses to offer employee parking. Churches do have parking lots that are largely vacant on weekdays, but they need to reserve the ability for members to park on short notice for events such as funerals and memorial services.
Town officials are in ongoing conversations to find other shared lot agreements with private owners and will continue to pursue more options for employee, customer, and residential parking.
It is true that many of these all-day metered spaces are underutilized. The task force recommends that employee permits be honored at these meters as part of an overall strategy. However, at most about 100 employee parking permits could be granted in these spaces while the PPTF estimates the overall need for more (estimated at 500) permits.
$10/month and employers will purchase permits on behalf of their employees.
University and other institution staff and faculty will not be permitted to purchase employee permit parking. The University is trying to radically reduce their carbon footprint partly through an aggressive system of transportation management for students, employees, and staff. Granting permits to members of the University community would undermine these efforts, as well as burdening our residential streets with excess parking.
Undergraduates are not permitted to have a car on campus. The proposed permit system continues to prevent them from parking on local streets as an alternative -- particularly through the posted, 3-hour parking limit on the most accessible, residential streets. Graduate students might be eligible to purchase residential permits depending on their housing circumstances.
This varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, depending on the availability of on-street spaces. There are no limits on guest permits per household.
One permit per household will be eligible at the regular price ($10/month) and a second permit will be available at twice the regular price ($20/month).
One permit per household will be eligible. A restricted driveway is one that has space for only one car.
Apartment buildings provide their own off-street parking, so no residents will be eligible for permits.
$5 for a 24-hour guest permit, $10 for 3-days, and $20 for 7-days.
There is currently no limit proposed on the number of overnight guest permits available to individual homeowners. All guest permits are available to purchase online anytime, or in-person at 400 Witherspoon St. during regular business hours.
To give more time for guests to visit residents and customers to shop/dine. This time limit also coincides with parking meters throughout town.
Evening parking is free after 9:00 pm and before 2:00 am. The overnight parking restriction for those without permits continues to be enforced between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, as is currently the case.
Contractors will be able to buy both short and long-term permits, at their option depending on whether they do a lot of work in Princeton or are just here for a single project of limited duration. The long-term permits will be “at large” and be able to be used in any permit parking zone for the duration of their permit.
Unknown at this time, but any residential development requires off-street parking and would be part of their plan.
No parking spaces will be lost. Rather, 62 spaces will be relocated, 12 two-hour spaces, and 50 all-day employee spaces. In many cases, the new locations will be more convenient to places of employment than the current parking spaces.
On a case-by-case basis, residents will be able to purchase an employee permit for in-home workers similar to business owners purchasing employee permits for their workers.