October 7, 2011
1. Approve Order of Agenda;
2. Minutes (Regular Meeting of August 5, 2011);
3. Review Auditor’s Office Role in Parking System;
4. Update on Downtown Parking Demand Study;
5. Discuss Bike Lockers;
6. Review Operator’s Report; and
7. Other Issues
Item 1: Agenda
Mr. Engen moved to approve the order of the agenda and Walvatne seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 2: Minutes: Regular Meeting of September 2, 2011
Mr. Engen moved the minutes of the September 2, 2011 Parking Commission meeting be approved. Ms. Walvatne seconded the motion. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 3: Review Auditor’s Role in Parking System
Bob Stein, Senior Planner described the departments involved in parking enforcement. He noted that the current contract for citation management with Duncan Solutions would be expiring and it was a good time to consider what the Commission wanted for future enforcement. Steve Sprague with Fargo Auditors reviewed the various reasons for which parking tickets were issued. He explained how the partnership with North Dakota State University (NDSU) and a private security firm worked.
Mr. Sprague explained the role of the Auditors’ Office in answering questions about and collecting fees for parking tickets. He noted that keeping citation management in-house would realize as much as $90,000 per year for the city. He reviewed the problems with setting up the current system and how it currently works. Rob Lynch with NDSU stated that they use the Duncan Solutions system as well, as part of their partnership with the City. He described the T2 System NDSU and the other State colleges use for their parking permit management and enforcement. The Commission discussed the various citation concerns and options. They considered the income, collections, and customer service provided by Duncan Systems and the city. Mr. Sprague explained staff changes being considered to better serve citizens with questions or who wished to appeal their tickets.
The Commission discussed how the money is controlled and whether the management of citations saved enough in staff time to make the fees worth paying. The Commission discussed with Mr. Lynch the sorts of calls that were received and whether NDSU might be able or want to become more involved in management or enforcement. Ms. Walvatne agreed to work with Mr. Stein and Mr. Sprague on evaluating the contract with Duncan Solutions and how the internal management of citations could be streamlined. Commissioner Williams noted that this would be an excellent time to get the Commission more involved in clearly expressing parking needs to the Finance Committee.
Item 3: Update on Downtown Parking Demand Study
Mr. Stein reviewed the data from the downtown parking study and noted that, for this study, six blocks had been added on the west side of the focus area. He pointed out that the heaviest occupancies were in those new blocks around the NDSU buildings. The Commission discussed the results and on which areas they should focus. Mr. Stein noted that the boundaries were not perfect but that the data should convey information on which the Commission could act. He stated that he had gotten some interest from the Government Services Administration (GSA) office in the Post Office building on Second Avenue North in partnering with the city to build a parking structure.
Mr. Stein explained the places in which he had forecast development and why. Ms. Bailly clarified that the study was intended to prove a need for a parking structure and suggested that evening hours and weekend nights might prove more effective in showing that need. The Commission discussed usage and how to change behavior to get people to use the existing, off-street parking. They considered how the parking limits discouraged daytime events like matinee shows and arts and crafts classes. They discussed how to size parking needs to balance day-to-day and evening or event needs.
Planning Director, Jim Gilmour suggested that the numbers showed that longer parking times on less-used blocks might be effective. The Commission discussed how averaging the numbers could distort when and where the actual need lay and whether narrowing the scope would give a better picture of usage in the areas around where possible structures might be built. Mr. Stein explained the status of the study and noted that he would fine-tune and update the numbers before he presented it as a final draft to the Commission. The Commission discussed the Northern Pacific (NP) Avenue and 1st Avenue North one way conversion study. They considered how the signage for the existing lots could be improved to encourage people to use them after-hours when citizens could be parking there for free.
Item 4: Discuss Bike Lockers
John Rogne with Parking Services Inc stated that one of the bike lockers was rented. Mr. Stein reminded the Commission of where the existing lockers were located and the Commission discussed whether they could be moved to places where they would see more use.
Item 5: Operator’s Report
Mr. Rogne reviewed the operator’s report for September, 2011. He noted that the YMCA had rented 35 spaces in the Island Park ramp for its employees. The Commission discussed how the NP Avenue lot functioned in the partnership with the Old Broadway. Mr. Rogne noted that people had begun to use that lot and the 2nd Avenue North lot for free, after-hours parking but that he’d found as many as sixty cars left overnight which made cleaning the lot and snow removal difficult. The Commission discussed with Mr. Rogne how to continue encouraging use of that lot while containing those vehicles to allow for maintenance.
Item 6: Other Issues
Commissioner Williams noted that there had been a bike share station demonstration downtown and described the program. He invited Commission members to contact him or Mr. Stein with any interest in hosting a station or with other comments on the program. The Commission discussed the limits of its jurisdiction and who controlled parking throughout the rest of the city. They asked that they get updates on parking decisions and enforcement actions in other part of the Fargo and that there be news releases with information on off-street parking options. There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:47 a.m.