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Guest of the Stable: Ian Sacs

The following is a reply to the Guest of the Stable piece earlier today by Hoboken Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs, who is available via email at:  i.sacs@hobokennj.org.  Although it’s unusual to have two Guest of the Stable posts the same day, this submittal merits an exception.
Hi Sean,
First I wanted to say that I am sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier.  I make a lot of effort to reply to residents as quickly as possible, so it’s unfortunate that your message either did not get to me or got buried.  Either way, I am very happy to respond because you bring up several of the fundamental concerns (and potential solutions) regarding the metered parking areas of our city.
1. You have good timing on the question of multi-space meters.  One of the first things I moved on after being appointed last fall was assembling bid specifications for this equipment.  Earlier this year, we received Council approval to award a contract for “Phase I” of an effort to replace single-space meters.  We are just 2-3 weeks from installing multi-space meters and monitoring a pilot implementation along Washington Street.  The plan is to replace single-space meters along the East side of Washington Street from Observer Highway to 7th Street.  This technology has been extremely successful in other cities, and we expect this plan to not only increase the number of parking spaces along Washington Street, but also to increase revenue and dramatically improve accountability of the cash collections in Hoboken.  As you hinted in your letter, it is also a prerequisite for more advanced methods of managing parking demand.
2.  On double parking, it’s obvious that this primarily occurs because there is not enough space to park along the curb.  In commercial districts where parking is metered, the recommendations you reference from Dr. Shoup are powerful tools in arriving at a balanced parking scenario where double parking is no longer necessary.  Getting to that point requires careful study and approach.  Dr. Shoup’s mantra of “performance based pricing” is entirely apropos for Hoboken’s commercial districts, but the right way to effect such concepts is through thoughtful and inclusive dialog with the businesses that look to parking as a critical factor in their success.  And I entirely subscribe to the philosophy that revenues generated from performance-based solutions are appropriately rolled back into the transportation mix to best serve the community.  I have begun that dialog with several community organizations that represent businesses in Hoboken with hopes to work towards a solution that makes a parking space available on every street and simultaneously integrates well with our larger approach to solving Hoboken’s parking problems.  If there is always a space available curbside, the frequency of double parking will drop considerably.
Lastly, I wanted to emphasize that the topics discussed above are but plates in a smorgasbord of solutions that must be implemented in order to resolve Hoboken’s parking and traffic problems.  That’s why, in addition to the commercial-specific concepts discussed above, we are moving full force on a wide array of programs, including a dramatic focus on pedestrian safety, improved bicycle facilities, expanded shuttle bus service and routes, and implementation of the city-wide car-sharing program (corner cars, http://hobokennj.org/cornercars).  If you have interest in this broader plan, I’ve written a more technical op-ed article for an internationally-read website Planetizen.com here: http://www.planetizen.com/node/42812.  I warn you though that this article is not for the faint of heart, so enjoy at your own peril!  I hope this is a sufficient response to your questions.  Cheers!
Again, if you would like to contact Ian Sacs on a transportation or parking issue, note the dote between his first initial and last name: i.sacs@hobokennj.org

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