Scottsdale taps Streetline to solve Old Town parking paradigm

City of Scottsdale officials hope a mobile app will assist drivers and the municipality in parking woes. (file photo)

An $81,000 mobile application to be used by motorists and city officials alike will give Scottsdale a 21st Century approach to addressing its parking woes in Old Town Scottsdale, officials say.

A new mobile application entitled Streetline, Inc., will be utilized to help motorists find parking in the downtown area, as well as monitor and track parking statistics for the city.

The one-year pilot program carries a cost of more than $80,000 per year, Transportation Director Paul Basha says.

“This will provide very specific data on parking space use by time of day, and day of week, and month of year, so that we can better prepare for future parking structures,” Mr. Basha explained to city council at a Feb. 13 meeting.

In a February Scottsdale City Council meeting, elected officials voted on authorizing a $231,185 cash transfer to a newly created Parking Management Pilot Program fund following two 2016 meetings where the council discussed a parking deficiency in the northeast quadrant of downtown Scottsdale.

The authorization passed 5-1, with Councilman David Smith dissenting.

The cash transfer will be from the Capital Improvement Plan In-Lieu Parking Fund, a coffer created by private developers as an alternative to constructing parking spaces in downtown Scottsdale.

The northeast quadrant of downtown Scottsdale, generally defined as Scottsdale Road to 75th Street and Third Avenue to Camelback Road, uses parking credits provided by the city to private properties for 1,585 parking spaces.

In this same quadrant, there are 720 on-street parking spaces and a surface parking area with 114 spaces, a city council report states.

Therefore a 751-parking-space deficiency exists, the report says.

Since a May 2016 meeting, the city’s economic development and transportation departments have been investigating possible solutions to city council’s request for an app that would assist motorists in finding parking.

A request for proposal was prepared, resulting in four submittals. A six-person panel representing five pertinent departments and one immediate vicinity businessperson reviewed the proposals and selected parking management company, Streetline, Inc.

The contract provides a one-year experimental program where Streetline, Inc. will install vehicle occupancy measurement devices in the northeast quadrant parking spaces and create an app usable by drivers.

The app will also allow controllers to quickly know if vehicles have been parked for more than the allotted amount of time, the council report states.

Councilman Smith moved to use police department funds for the program if it will be assisting parking controllers.

“I’m troubled by using the in-lieu parking funds for this purpose,” Councilman David Smith said.

“It sounds like it might be a good police department application for determining when cars have exceeded their three-hour parking limit and then giving them a ticket — I can see some value from that — but to bleed the resources from the in-lieu parking fund for a pilot program.”

Mr. Smith’s motion died for a lack of a second.

“Those funds, in the management there of, or by virtue of better utilization of existing spaces, that’s what this contract is intended to do,” Mayor Jim Lane said at the meeting. “There are spaces that are underutilized that could serve certain areas of the city that happen to have more activity at one time or another.”

The one-year contract cost is $231,184.80; the one-time activation and installation costs are $150,120; and the first year operation cost is $81,064.80.

Streetline, Inc. is to install vehicle occupancy measurement devices in the identified quadrant, and create an app usable by drivers locating vacant parking spaces.

The expected life of the in-pavement sensors is eight years, while the expected life of the surface-mount sensors is four years, the staff report states. Streetline will only assess Scottsdale for damage to Streetline equipment incurred by overt actions by the city, the report states.

“I do believe we need an app,” Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp said.

“The people who are driving around downtown many times, round and round the block, seem to not know where the parking is. I think it’s great that there’s technology now that can provide an app of this sort — I believe a little better in some cases, signage would help as well, but a great first step is an app.”

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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