For the third consecutive Hoboken City Council meeting, three ordinances related to increasing parking violation penalties, metered and pay station prices and public parking garage rates were withdrawn from agenda without discussion.
One ordinance would potentially increase fines for drivers who violate curbside regulations.
For example, currently a fine for parking at a bus stop is $53, but would significantly increase to a fine of $98. Similarly, the fine for parking of commercial vehicles overnight would significantly increase from the current penalty of $75 to $105.
Among some others, fines would increase also for “prohibited parking at all times,” “permit parking only” and “no parking loading zone” from $45 to $58, $68 to $80 and $45 to $58, respectively.
These rate increases are being considered, according to the resolutions, to “better effectuate safe, orderly and efficient use of public space and scarce curbside resources,” and since “parking violations and penalties have gone largely unchanged for over 10 years and are now out of balance with pricing for other parking services in Hoboken.”
Yet another ordinance would “implement dynamic pricing for meters” based on factors such as parking demand, adjacent land uses or peak periods throughout different areas of the city.
In this instance, based on a draft drawing that displays the pricing variations, the majority of meters placed in areas running north and south, as well as west of Washington Street, would cost drivers 50 cents for every 15 minutes, while the majority of meters east of Washington Street would cost drivers 90 cents for every 15 minutes.
And finally, the third ordinance withdrawn from discussion and a vote, would increase rates at municipal parking garages for residents and transient rates for visitors parking in municipal garages.
These rate increases are being contemplated since “monthly parking rates in the City of Hoboken owned garages and lots are approximately 30 percent below market rate,” and “a lack of rate increases during the previous 10-plus years has left the Hoboken Parking Utility with limited resources available to pay for facilities maintenance, replacing obsolete parking access and revenue control systems.”
Therefore, the new rates for a monthly standard parking pass for residents at six municipal parking garages including Garage B, Garage D, Garage G, Midtown, Garden Street and Garden Street for SUV parking would be $250, $240, $200, $235, $200 and $250, respectively.
While transient rates would actually drop by one dollar at Garages B and D for up to half- hour and one-hour parking, they would rise by one dollar for up to two hours of parking, by three dollars for up to eight hours and two dollars for between 12 hours and 32 hours of parking.
Purportedly, all the new revenue generated by the parking rate increases would be reinvested into additional parking enforcement, including new enforcement parking officers, license plate recognition cameras and software applications.
We asked Council President Ruben Ramos about why the council put off another vote on the ordinances.
“Items were removed because council members do not want to raise fines or fees until a comprehensive plan is created that helps both our businesses and residents,” he began.
“With Washington Street still months away from completion, and the new meterless system that was just put in place on Monday with little notification to the public, now is not the time to raise fines. We approved funding for new signage a few years back and we’re still waiting for that to happen.”
A city spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.