City won't privatize parking just yet

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 5:38pm

Any plan to privatize Nashville’s parking meters wouldn’t happen during this year’s budget cycle, Mayor Karl Dean has confirmed.

“Obviously, we look at any proposals that are given to us. There was a proposal regarding the privatization of parking,” Dean said. “There’s no plans to go forward with it at all at any point right now. It’s just something we looked at and talked about.”

A report aired by WTVF-Channel 5 Monday revealed an exchange of e-mails between Dean and Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling that seemed to show at least some interest in exploring the idea to raise revenue for the upcoming budget cycle.

Auctioning off municipal parking meters to private companies is a tactic a handful of cities have initiated to create more capital. In Chicago, for example, companies lease parking meters and public parking garages from the city. Companies keep customer fees while the city collects the lease payment and money from tickets issued after meters expire.

Though leasing parking meters reportedly raised significant revenue in Chicago, it also fueled well-documented controversy after companies drastically raised hourly parking rates.

Asked if his administration would consider privatizing any other city services, Dean said, simply, “No.”  

3 Comments on this post:

By: WickedTribe on 1/26/10 at 9:05

Good thing. Thanks to whoever earlier posted the link about Chicago doing this and the nightmare it is there. It's obviously a very bad idea.

By: govskeptic on 1/27/10 at 6:15

Well the Mayor and Parking Commission haven't gotten all the
parts just right for this sell off just yet. Yes, they increased the
rates about 50% and added Saturday's as a day to pay, maybe
they need to add about 50% more spaces to the meter pool.
The Fairgrounds have to be sold off first, can't open the entire
playbook to the public at one time. Heck, they might just get
SKEPTICAL of the entire government: Administration & Council!

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 2/5/10 at 4:22

Raising the parking rates even higher could be a good thing for several reasons. Rather than seeing street parking privatized, why don't we do what the city of Pasadena, CA did and spend the revenues in the neighborhood that generated it? Additionally, if we set the price of parking high enough to ensure a 15% vacancy rate it would mean that a space is always available for those who are willing to pay for it and it would cut down significantly on people cruising for a cheap place to park.

Donald Shoup, economist and planner on parking: