NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mayor David Briley put the parking proposal on hold and reps with the private vendor involved say it’s a good thing.
“It gives us an opportunity to get our message out to the public, help educate the public on what it is that we are trying to do. It also gives us time to plan for technology implementation and ensure that we have a very successful transition,” Rob Maroney VP of Government Affairs for LAZ Parking told News 2.
Maroney gave us the first look at the meter technology that they are proposing for Nashville. The pay stations would replace all of the old parking meters.
“It’s a state-of-the-art technology that can manage 10 to 15 parking spaces instead of having individual meters at every space, so it cleans up the curb quite a bit. It also gives patrons the opportunities to use credit cards, debit cards, still except coin and cash payment and it also integrates with our mobile application, so the mobile application and the meters talk to each other.”
He says the app allows for mobile payments and tracks your time, as well as open spots.
“The great feature about it is it will also have live occupancy tracking so customers will be able to find available on-street parking just by looking at their app and following it to open spaces.”
Maroney says about 30 percent of the downtown traffic can be associated with people circling the blocks looking for parking and that this system will make it easier to find those spaces. He says it will also help turn over those spaces more frequently.
The proposal comes with a 25-cent increase an hour for parking.
“At $2 an hour for on-street parking that is still much less than off-street parking lots and garages, many of which charge $20 to $25 for the same time period,” said Maroney.
Metro would get $34 million up front for the deal that includes a revenue share program. It would eventually expand metered parking spaces to areas like The Gulch, West End, SOBRO and the Central Business District.
“This is a great opportunity for Nashville to generate some new revenue that can then be transformed into transit and mobility projects,” he said.
The plan has received a lot of backlash. Locals that we talked to say they feel like downtown isn’t for them anymore, that it’s focused on the tourist.
“I feel like we don’t really have a choice other than to go that way, because Nashville is growing so much that the tax benefit is probably going to outweigh what the average person wants and in all honesty
nobody wants to have to pay for things we are used to not paying for, so that’s the price you pay for growth,” said Kelley Bell.
LAZ Parking says they are now scheduling some community meetings and business association meetings in the next few weeks to try and share their goals.