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Latest News On Failed Parking Pay Station Experiment Along Central Avenue

In 2011, the neighborhood and business community surrounding the Central Avenue main street in the Heights section of Jersey City launched a campaign to remove the parking kiosk machines installed by the Jersey City Parking Authority.

Here is the latest news on this issue:


Jersey Journal - JCPA signs off on 12 percent pay hike for executive director; mayor says contract 'not tenable'

March 11, 2012

Jersey City Parking Authority commissioners last week unanimously awarded JCPA Executive Director Mary Paretti a five-year contract that comes with a 12 percent pay hike over the course of the pact. The move comes only one month after Mayor Jerramiah Healy said he intends to fold the city agency into a newly formed Department of Public Safety, bringing it back under city control.

Under the contract, Paretti will receive $120,200 this year, a 3 percent hike over last year. Under the new deal her pay increases about $3,700 annually until 2016, when it will reach $135,286. She will also receive six weeks of vacation, up to 15 sick days annually and a JCPA-paid vehicle. If Paretti and JCPA commissioners agree to extend her contract for an additional two years, Paretti will see a $143,525 salary starting in 2018.

Paretti, who now goes by her married name, is perhaps better known to many city residents as Mary Spinello. She represented Ward B on the City Council for about one term, resigning in April 2009 to become head of the JCPA.
Full Story>

Jersey Journal - Daily poll: Do you prefer parking meters over pay stations?

January 31, 2012

After installing parking pay stations on both sides of Broadway, between 22nd and 23rd streets for a six-month trial period, city officials announced last week that the city's Parking Utility will be returning to the "more economical" individual parking meters, rather than installing new pay stations all along Broadway.

"The former Parking Authority was interested in seeing whether the pay stations could help provide more parking space while reducing costs," Mayor Mark Smith said in a statement. "The people made it clear that they did not like having to return to their cars to place receipts in their windows. We decided to listen to the people and return to the former meters."

In August, officials at the Bayonne Town Center launched a campaign to remove the pay stations, that included collecting letters of complaints from merchants, and amassing a petition with roughly 700 signatures, asking the city to remove them.
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Jersey Journal - Bayonne city officials to take down parking pay stations along Broadway, will return to meters

January 30, 2012

The City of Bayonne is returning to parking meters.

After installing parking pay stations last June on both sides of the Broadway, between 22nd and 23rd Streets for a six-month trial period, city officials say it is more economical to simply return to utilizing parking meters than installing pay stations all along Broadway. The trial stations were installed to see whether they would allow for more cars to park along the street, officials said.

"The former Parking Authority was interested in seeing whether the pay stations could help provide more parking spaces while reducing costs," Mayor Mark Smith said. "The people made it clear that they did not like having to return to their cars to place receipts in their windows. We decided to listen to the people and return to the former meters."
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Jersey City Independent - The JCPA's Parking Pay Station Machines May Be Replaced As Soon As February

October 26, 2011

Although Mary Paretti, the CEO of the Jersey City Parking Authority, came to Monday night’s caucus meeting to discuss the rental spots that are part of the revised food truck ordinance, Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson took the opportunity to remind Paretti that the oft-maligned Parking Authority’s pay station machines along Central Avenue are still the subject of much frustration for residents.

But Paretti, who said the pay station pilot program cost approximately $400,000, stressed the JCPA is doing what it can within its limited budget to address the problem. “Before I can move [the pay stations] and put in new equipment I need to find a home for at least some of these [stations],” she said.
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Jersey Journal - Old parking meters along Central Avenue in Jersey City to return after complaints about newer models

October 26, 2011

The Jersey City Parking Authority plans to replace the parking meters on Central Avenue in response to complaints from shoppers and business owners who claim the meters repeatedly malfunction and discourage local commerce.

The meters, which were installed in early 2008, are unimeter-style devices like the kind seen in midtown Manhattan. They replaced 200 older-style meters like those seen throughout Jersey City. JCPA Executive Director Mary Paretti said she hopes to have the old-style parking meters back on the strip by early 2012, and possibly move the unimeter-style devices to other parts of the city. Paretti said the newer meters are operable, but she decided to replace them with the older meters because the constant complaints have become a “headache.”
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Jersey Journal - Jersey City Parking Authority is picketed by Heights residents and business owners who say pay stations are hard to use, often malfunction, and are driving business away by setting shoppers up for tickets

September 28, 2011

Rally at the JCPA on Tuesday September 27, 2011

Roughly a dozen fed up Jersey City Heights residents and business owners picketed last night in front of the Jersey City Parking Authority’s headquarters at 394 Central Ave., protesting parking stations they say often don’t work and are aiding a ticket blitz on the part of the authority. “A lot of the merchants on Central Avenue feel that the pay stations are hurting business,” said Roberta Tarkan, a business owner and member of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District. “They (merchants) hear complaints about how difficult it is to come to Central Avenue. People don’t want to come and get tickets.”
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Central Ave Biz Man Wants Top Parking Authority Job for $1/ Year

August 2011 - Heights News

After years of frustration with a disastrous parking meter system that relies completely on often malfunctioning pay station machines, the Central Avenue business community, along with many shoppers and residents, are voicing their anger with the Jersey City Parking Authority, particularly CEO Mary F. Paretti’s inaction on the matter. 

The failed pay station experiment indicates what CASID President Michael Yun believes is a deficiency in leadership: “Months after raising the issue with Paretti and requesting its removal, there has been no concrete improvements with the machines.” Mounting frustrations among the business community has led Yun to call for changes at the top of the JCPA and offer his own services in place of CEO Paretti’s. The JCPA is responsible for managing the City’s parking needs in both residential areas and business districts but has failed in that capacity: “It is time the JCPA gets back to basics with leadership that understands how parking management affects local commerce and jobs. Instead of punishing residents for shopping local, the JCPA should lead the way for Jersey City to live up to the “business-friendly” image Mayor Healy always boasts of,” said Yun. “For a salary of only one-dollar a year I could get the Parking Authority back on track.”
Full Story in Heights News

New Directions on Multi-space Parking Machines: Now Must Place Receipt Visibly On Dashboard

Winter 2011 - Heights News

Already in effect, the multi-space parking meter machines along Central Avenue now require users to display the ticket on the dashboard. The Jersey City Parking Authority administers these machines and made the change in an effort to simplify use. Central Avenue is currently the only district in Jersey City to use this parking meter system. Parking Machine Directions: 1) Insert Quarters or $1 Bills, 2) Press Green Button, 3) Take Receipt and Display on Passenger Side Dashboard.
Full Story in Heights News (pg. 5)

JCPA Installs Multi-Space Parking Meters on Central Avenue

Winter 2008 - Heights News

As of December, the Jersey City Parking Authority (JCPA) has installed 27 multi-space meters on Central Avenue. A pole still marks each space, but instead of being topped with individual meters, the poles direct customers to the nearest multi-space meter. Central Avenue patrons can pay for parking time on one of the new meters in three steps: 1) Note the number on the pole marking your space, 2) Enter the number in any mulit-space machine on Central Avenue and 3) Keep your receipt with you. It does not need to be placed on the car dashboard. According to JCPA Chief Executive Director Mark Russ, the main benefit of the multi-space meters is efficiency. "If you look at the long run, maintenance is much cheaper on these machines than on the traditional meters," he said. If a meter does malfunction, it notifies the JCPA of the problem via a wireless signal.
Full Story in Heights News (pg. 3)

New Parking Procedures and Higher Rates Confuse Shoppers

Fall 2007 - Heights News

Earlier this year, the Jersey City Parking authority (JCPA) raised parking rates 33% in municipal lots. A quarter now buys 20 minutes instead of 30. The JCPA also installed a $14,000 mulit-space meter to serve 50 of the 150 spaces in the parking lot next to Burger King on Central Avenue. After several months of trying to adapt, it appears that many Central Avenue shoppers and neighbors have voted with their wheels against both the new rates and the new system, which many find confusing. A survey of the lot during business hours shows that spots regulated by the new meter are often empty, while nearby individually metered and on-street spaces are filled to capacity. This additional parking strain has become frustrating to many.
Full Story in Heights News (pg.4)>

Parking Authority Lowers Rates, Installs Second Multi-Space Meter in Municipal Lot

Winter 2007 - Heights News

In response to input from local shoppers, residents, business owners and the CASID, the Jersey City Parking Authority Board of Commissioners recently reinstated a lower parking rate in municipal lots on Central Avenue. The parking rate, which had been raised earlier this year to 25 cents per 20 minutes, has been returned to its previous rate of 25 cents per 30 minutes. The reinstated rate is the same as the rate charged by on-street meters throughout the city. In the lot behind Burger King on Central Avenue, patrons are able to park for up to four hours.

For the convenience of shoppers, the Parking Authority has also added a second multi-space meter that works in sync with the one preciously installed to manage all the spots in the lot, thus eliminating the need for the use of individual meters. Under the new multi-space system, patrons pay at the central meter and keep their receipts with them. There is no need to place parking receipts on car dashboards, as Parking Authority employees are able to monitor the time left on all spaces using software in the multi-space meter.
Full Story in Heights News (pg. 4)