City reports revenue data for downtown parking meters

A comprehensive paid parking system implemented in downtown Tacoma in September collected more than $1 million in fees and fines during the first six months of this year, according to data provided by the City of Tacoma.

The city’s parking pay station program was the subject of Tacoma City Council’s study session on July 12. During that meeting, city officials reported that from Jan. 1 through June 30 parking pay stations recorded 399,973 transactions that brought in $364,782.41. During that same period, the city issued 20,207 citations and 7,824 warnings. The city collected $740,507 in court fines during that period. When compared against the parking system’s expenses, which include the pay station vendor contract, enforcement, administrative costs, and court costs, the parking system earned the city $27,104 during the first quarter of this year. Also during the first quareter, the city collected $585,317 in revenue — $220,774 from the parking pay stations, and $364,542 from court fines. During that same period, the city reported $558,213 in expenses — $128,500 for the pay station contract; $249,814 for enforcement; $107,985 for administration; and $71,914 for court costs.

“I look at the net revenue and this clearly is not a cash cow system,” said Councilmember Marty Campbell during the July 12 meeting. “We’re pretty much getting what we need to make the system work.”

The parking meters were activated on Sept. 20 to increase parking turnover for drivers visiting downtown Tacoma on a short-term basis and discourage chain parking by downtown workers who could park elsewhere. “Our streets were filled starting at 8:30 in the morning,” said downtown merchant Steph Farber, who also serves on the parking advisory task force and spoke during the study session. “They were not customers. They were workers and students.”

The meters currently charge 75 cents an hour during weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Looking ahead, city staff told councilmembers they were exploring a pilot program that would better serve downtown residents. Next month, parking enforcement officers will be using new hand-held devices that will be more efficient and store more data.

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage, click on the following links:

Tacoma City Council to discuss downtown paid parking system —

City enacts changes to downtown Tacoma parking pay station program —

First downtown parking pay stations arrive Tuesday —

Parking pay station public meeting Thursday —

Public outreach continues for new downtown parking pay stations —

Downtown parking pay station meeting today —

City to review downtown parking meter contract —

Downtown drivers closer to paying for parking —