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October 1, 2010


  1. Call to Order and Minutes;
  2. Discuss Parking Facility Demand and Rate Schedule;
  3. Brainstorm Aesthetic Improvements at Island Park Ramp;
  4. Consider Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Equipment;
  5. Review Operator's Report; and
  6. Other Issues.


Members Present: Chairperson Commissioner Mike Williams, Tracy Walvatne, Karen Stoker, Margie Bailly

Others Present: Bob Stein, Kim Citrowske, John Rogne

Chairperson Commissioner Williams called the meeting to order.  Ms. Walvatne moved to approve the minutes of the September 3, 2010 meeting and Ms. Stoker seconded the motion.  All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Brainstorm Aesthetic Improvements at Island Park Ramp

Mr. Stein explained that, during a walking evaluation of downtown the appearance of the Island Park Ramp had been brought up as a concern.  He stated that adding some landscaping and flower boxes to the structure could make a big difference to how it looks.  He suggested distributing a request for proposals to landscape architects with some requirements for maintenance and other needs.  The Commission discussed options for improving the appearance of the ramp.  Mr. Stein noted that there was no water service to the site and the Commission discussed collecting rainwater on the top level for irrigation.  Ms. Stoker moved that the Mr. Stein move forward on a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the ramp and Ms. Walvatne seconded the motion.  All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.  Ms. Stoker and Ms. Walvatne agreed to work with Mr. Stein on evaluating the proposals.

Consider Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Equipment

Mr. Stein reviewed the recent visit from some parking officials from Winnipeg.  He stated that the equipment they had demonstrated would work well in Fargo and that parking permits would be listed on the system shown.  He pointed out that the city could stop paying private security companies to do parking enforcement if it adopted a faster and more efficient system like the ALPR equipment demonstrated.  The Commission discussed integrating ALPR with citation management software.  Mr. Gilmour stated that the system would likely pay for itself in a few years and that the Finance Committee had viewed it as a general fund cost rather than something to be paid out of the earmarked parking funds because ticket revenues will be returned to the general fund.  Mr. Stein pointed out that the system that Winnipeg had demonstrated took pictures for each ticket and that they had not had any parking tickets overturned on appeal.  The Commission discussed the cost of the systems and the accuracy shown during the demonstration.  Mr. Stein explained other possible law enforcement applications that made the system attractive to the City of Fargo.  The Commission discussed involving North Dakota State University in sharing the cost.  Ms. Walvatne moved that the Commission move forward on working with the Finance Committee on purchasing this equipment.  Ms. Stoker seconded the motion.  All members voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Review Operator’s Report and Parking Facility Demand and Rate Schedule

Mr. Rogne reviewed the Operator’s Report for September, 2010.  He noted that hourly and POP program parking had increased and that Sanford Health had taken more spaces in the Island Park Ramp.  The Commission discussed why the number of renters and the amount of hourly parking had changed so drastically at the Civic Center Lot.  They considered the occupancy rates of the various lots and ramps and what that meant for the rates as currently set.  The discussed the awkward spaces along the center of the Ground Transportation Center (GTC) ramp and how Municipal Court opening there at the end of October, 2010 might affect demand for the underground ramp. They discussed charges at the Radisson ramp for event parking and charges billed back to downtown hotels and organizations as well as the hourly and daily parking rates for that ramp.  Mr. Stein noted that the charge back for events had been set at $5 per space but that the maximum daily rate had been increased to $7.50 and suggested that the Commission consider raising the charge back rate to match.  The Commission discussed the 3rd Avenue lot and the progress of the gardening plots.  They considered the occupancy rates and hourly parking of the other lots.  They discussed the condition of the 2nd Avenue North lot and the ownership of the neighboring lots.

The Commission discussed adding lighting to that lot to brighten both the lot and the alley behind the buildings along Broadway as well as lighting improvements to the Radisson Ramp.  Mr. Stein reviewed the occupancy rates and reasoning behind setting the caps on monthly rental spaces.  Mr. Gilmour pointed out that the rates as currently set approximately paid for running and maintaining the lots but not for major improvements.

Other Business

Mr. Stein reviewed the 1st Avenue and NP Avenue North corridor study and the recommendations to date.  He stated that the September 30, 2010 meeting had been productive and that the study review committee would be meeting with the consultant today.  Commissioner Williams reviewed how the study would move forward and the capacity of the roads.  Mr. Stein reviewed the report from the consultant.  The Commission discussed increasing public knowledge that free parking was available on evenings and weekends.  They considered how on-street parking would be affected by the proposed changes.  Mr. Stein stated that he would invite the Commission to the meeting at which the consultant presented his recommendations to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Gilmour stated that the downtown circulator bus had not been funded for the coming year and that funding for transportation spending seemed unlikely until the economy improved.  He noted that the state legislature did not appear to be interested in providing that funding.  Commissioner Williams suggested that a plan be in place so that, should funding become available, the program could begin immediately.  The Commission discussed a possible route and the aim of adding a circulator route downtown.  They considered the involvement of Sanford Health and its employees in transit in general and their interest in using a circulator route.  Mr. Gilmour explained some of the funding sources that had been explored.  Commissioner Williams invited the Commission to attend the Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Radisson Hotel on the morning of October 5, 2010.  There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.