City will move to ‘pay and display’ downtown parking

Without consistent enforcement, residents have taken parking rules into their own hands. (Photo by Justin Heard/KTOO)

Downtown motorists will soon have to add an additional step to their parking regime.

Instead of just registering a vehicle at a parking machine, they also will have to put the receipt on the dashboard before continuing on with business. It’s called pay and display.

The shift in parking practice is due to the unreliability of the current system run by Aparc Parking Solutions. Information being plugged into the parking machines isn’t getting accurately communicated to the handheld devices used by Juneau Police Department parking enforcement.

Community Service Officer Bob Dilley says this has made it difficult to issue citations.

“Intermittently we would lose communications so if you do that and then somebody presents you with evidence later that says, yes, they did register, then you really can’t trust the system and we as enforcement officers want to make sure we’re not issuing citations in error.”

This is not the only issue making it hard for parking enforcement to do their job. The city and borough of Juneau is currently transitioning to handling its own parking violations instead of sending them to a district court. When the transition is complete, enforcement will once again leave citations on vehicles.

In this interim period, Dilley says people should continue to use the parking machines and follow parking ordinances. He says downtown parking remains  problematic.

“I think there’s a certain percentage of the population knows that we’re not giving out parking tickets and is probably somewhat taking advantage of that.”

Ben Lyman is senior planner with the CBJ Community Development Department. He says on-street parking is not the only option downtown. Marine Parking Garage and the Downtown Transportation Center Garage are geared for drivers looking to park for more than two hours.

“The two facilities combined are almost always half full and that means we’ve got about 300 empty parking spaces in those two facilities.”

At the moment, CBJ does not know when pay and display will begin, but the Parks and Recreation Department will provide public education on how the new system will work. There will be a grace period before enforcement starts issuing citations.

The new pay-and-display parking method will still allow two hours of free parking.