Santa Monica Lookout
|Downtown Santa Monica Structures Get New Payment System, Elevators||
When one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.
By Jason Islas
March 11 2014 -- When Downtown Santa Monica’s Parking Structure #6 re-opened in December to much fanfare, it was a visible improvement over the building’s squat predecessor.
One of the major features, however, isn’t quite as obvious, although it will save more than a $1 million a year in lost parking revenue.
Structure #6 will be the City’s first parking structure to get a new Parking Access and Revenue Control System (PARCS).
In January, the City Council allocated more than $3 million to have the system installed in the nine Downtown parking structures, the Main Library parking lot and the Civic Center parking structure.
It will replace the current PARCS system, which is not user friendly, results in slow transactions for patrons and has broken down on multiple occasions, most recently on New Year’s Eve, according to City officials.
“The core infrastructure of the (parking) system is 13 years old,” said Don Patterson, Santa Monica’s Assistant Director of Finance. “The average life expectancy is seven to 10 years.”
As a result, the current parking system is losing anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 a month in revenues in structures across the city, he said.
It also “creates a negative impression on people,” Patterson said. “You can have a really nice day and, if it took you a half hour to get out of the parking structure, you are going to be frustrated.”
The new system, which has license plate recognition software, will also help curb illegal tailgating when one car follows closely behind another in order to exit without paying.
Parking Structures #2, #4 and #5 will also be getting new elevators, officials said.
She added that the project will be done in phases so that none of the structures will have to close.
“We are putting together project estimates, and will know more as the drawings and scope are completed,” she said.
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