Newburyport Introduces Passport’s Mobile Pay Parking App
Originally appeared on DailyNews
By: Dyke Hendrickson
February 2, 2016
Changes ahead to city parking
Revenue from parking bringing in almost $700K
NEWBURYPORT — The city appears to be at a crossroads in its journey to improve and expand its municipal parking plan.
In the short term, it recently changed its pay-by-phone parking-fee provider.
In the longer view, municipal leaders are considering raising the 50-cent-an-hour parking fee, perhaps to $1.
Also, city officials continue to study the feasibility of building a parking garage at the corner of Titcomb and Merrimac streets.
Regarding parking apps, the city last week changed its vendor to a provider named Passport. Officials say Parkmobile, the former mobile pay station, is no longer offered and its transactions are now not accepted. To acquire the new app, the user can download the phone app at https://ppprk.com/park/.
Municipal leaders say users can pay on the go, get reminders when paid time is expiring and extend parking time remotely with Passport. That is the application used by Boston, officials say.
In the larger picture, municipal leaders are seeking ways to expand and/or relocate parking options. One reason is that they want to create more park and open space on the riverfront.
To do that, they would have to remove parking spaces.
The Waterfront Trust, which is a municipal board charged with managing several waterfront public properties, and the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, an independent agency associated with the city, both possess parking lots on the water.
City officials are studying how many vehicles might be taken off the waterfront parking lots. One result of the removal of spaces is that the city would stand to lose revenue.
Paid parking has become a significant source of revenue for Newburyport. The existence of paid parking in Newburyport is a relatively new phenomenon — prior to the city’s redevelopment in the 1970s, it removed all of its paid parking meters. Parking in city lots was free, although the city did make some revenue from parking tickets.
Under Mayor Donna Holaday the city reinstituted paid parking in 2011.
Prior to paid parking, the city collected about $70,000 per year in parking revenue, primarily from fines.
The most recent parking revenue figures are for fiscal year 2015, which ran from July 2014 through June 2015. Money collected from paid parking and fines increased to $695,000.
City meter revenue, which includes the Waterfront Trust property, is $239,000. The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s income is about $113,000 per year, city officials say.
Revenue from tickets is $271,000, and proceeds from parking permits is about $69,000. Interest is about $1,600.
After expenses, net profit to the city is about $304,000.
The city maintains about 740 parking places. The largest lots are the NRA East lot with 265 and the city-owned Green Street lot with 227.
When city officials were considering building a parking garage for $16 million ($9 million of which would be paid by the city), consultants said it could offer about 345 spaces.
Municipal leaders are now considering a $10 million facility, and that would offer about 220 spaces, according to municipal estimates.
City Councilor Robert Cronin, who is chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said public meetings have been scheduled to discuss new plans for the garage.
Cronin, in his email newsletter to constituents, said the City Council will meet Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. at City Hall to discuss a bond order for $600,000 for preliminary planning work for a garage.
City officials say that another meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 11, in City Hall at 7 p.m. to discuss concerns of abutters or others involved.