Inefficient metered, valet parking costs Metro Nashville millions of dollars in lost revenue

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Nashville’s Traffic and Parking Commission put parking enforcement back on the table after concerns about millions of dollars in lost revenue.

From metered parking to valet parking, revenue from parking enforcement isn’t quite keeping up with Nashville’s exploding growth.

Freddie O’Connell, Chair of Metro’s Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Committee, said Metro doesn’t have equipment to boot cars in violation.

“We have the authority to boot, authority to tow, we haven’t done it,” said O’Connell.

When it comes to valet, use of public right of way only requires a $50 annual fee.

“Technically, we have the authority to recover lost revenue when say a valet stand is going to take parking meters off the street,” said O’Connell.

O’Connell said that gap totals millions of dollars that Metro loses out on every year.

“There’s no enforcement of parking violations period,” said O’Connell. “The closer you get into downtown this curb space, which is public right-of-way, has a value and what we’ve discovered is we have just undervalued our public right-of-way a long time.”

O’Connell said part of the problem begins with laying the groundwork.

There’s currently no map to even take inventory of the parking — metered or valet.

Another issue is only five enforcement officers are active during business hours.

O’Connell said on the table includes modernizing Metro’s parking meters, many of which still take coins.

“How do you turn these investments into recovery of revenue and what’s that total cost to invest in smarter technology, including for actual meters, and how does it look coming back?” said O’Connell.

Privatization of Metro’s meters isn’t yet back on the table.

Mayor John Cooper has been skeptical of that approach.

“If we just got better at the public administration of our parking meters, valets, the whole suite of things — the traffic and parking commission works on, that would enhance Metro’s revenue by millions of dollars a year,” said O’Connell. “Like on the order of $8-10 million in revenue.”

The commission has requested the Mayor’s Office attend the next commission meeting to see how its discussions tie into the Mayor’s listening sessions on transportation.

The commission has also requested a fee study on valet parking, which should be done by the Spring.

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