• The NEW Hoboken Parking Meter Situation: Our Q+A with Parking Director Ryan Sharp

    If you’ve walked or driven around the streets of 8th to 15th in Hoboken as of late, you may notice a new sign that has hit some of the streets. This parking sign has raised a lot of questions, concerns, confusion, and criticism in the last few weeks, as it’s now that Hoboken will now designate all previously 4-hour permit parking zones {which were free for visitors for up to four hours} as now being paid-only parking spots for visitors. This payment will be implemented using a mobile app or their 800 number as the only ways to pay. We polled our readers and about 92% of those who answered raised concerns over this new implementation by the City of Hoboken.

    hoboken-parking-meter-apps-new

    Some of the major concerns voiced to us by readers are:

    • – The ability for the elderly or those without a phone [be it permanently or phone is dead/not with them] as well as electronic banking to utilize the new payment system.
    • – The effects this will have on visitors and the economy for local businesses {with visitors feeling unsure about parking or not wanting to attempt to park due to sheer confusion.
    • – The confusion and lack of communication from the city regarding when this will be released/rolled out to the public {as signs are already live, but many residents have shared that they received no alert or update regarding this major change}.

    To get to the bottom of this, we did some digging and asked some reader-generated questions of the Director of Parking, Ryan Sharp, about this new situation. Here are his answers, but feel free to reach out directly to the Parking Authority should you have further questions. We are happy to do a second Q+A should there be an influx of further Qs, so feel free to leave your Qs and comments in the comments section, below.

    Without further ado, here are our reader- and team-generated questions about the new parking meters and zones in Hoboken:


    How are residents affected {if at all} by the new metered parking?

    Resident parking permit holders are exempt from paying for metered parking on the “visitor side” of permit parking zones. This is no different than Washington Street between 8th St and 13th St and Hudson St between 15th St and 2nd St.

    I think the easiest way to explain it is like this: most streets in Hoboken are permit parking zones. One side of the street is parking for resident permit holders only (green sign, white lettering), and the other side of the street is a permit parking zone that also allows a four hour grace period for non-permit holders (white sign, green lettering). The four hour grace period used to be free for anyone without a permit, but now it will be metered. Anyone with a valid Hoboken parking permit can continue to park for free for an unlimited amount of time on either side of the street in permit parking zones.

    If a resident has a permit pass, will they have to pay for parking? {Downtown 2-hour parking is a yes, but in the new mobile spaces throughout the city}.

    No, anyone with a valid Hoboken parking permit of any kind is exempt from paying for parking in permit parking zones.

    Read More: Hoboken Street Parking, Explained

    If someone doesn’t have a phone or their phone isn’t charged, how are they going to be able to pay for parking?

    According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans currently own a cell phone. However, anyone visiting by car without a cell phone will need to either obtain a visitor permit (through a Hoboken resident), park on a street that does have a meter or park in a garage. Alternatively, a resident could opt to pay for their visitor’s parking remotely through the Parkmobile app or website. For example, I used to live on a street in Montclair where there was metered parking through pay-by-phone only, and I used to pay for my guests’ parking through the Parkmobile app from inside my home when they came to visit. I would even save the license plate information of frequent visitors in the Parkmobile app so I could just activate a parking session for them in seconds whenever they visited by car.

    There is an option to call an 800 number to pay for. What if someone only has cash or doesn’t have a credit card on them? Is there a reason that there will now be no option for cash?

    Parking pay stations are expensive to purchase and maintain, and they generally have a useful life of less than 10 years. The City is piloting pay-by-phone only on the visitor sides of permit parking zones to try to save money and limit additional street clutter. If the pilot is successful, the City can use the pay stations originally earmarked for the visitor sides of permit zones to instead replace existing pay stations on Washington St, 1st St, 14th St, etc. which are nearing the end of their useful lives.

    Do temporary visitor parking passes still work in these newly-metered zones, and will guests who are given them by a resident be able to use free of charge {besides the $5 fee}? Can we still use those red scratch-off 24 hour visitor passes that we have already purchased? Will visitor passes still be available going forward to use as well?

    Yes, nothing has changed with regards to visitor permits. All HPU parking permits, including visitor permits, exempt you from having to pay for parking in visitor side metered parking zones. The Department of Transportation and Parking is currently working on upgrading its visitor permits so that they can conveniently be purchased and activated online without having to come to the HPU customer service window to purchase scratch off hang tags.

    Is there a place that residents can go for more info that they can send to friends/family who are visiting? Website, etc.

    Yes, there is an FAQ section about this that was put out via press release back in late September. The webpage also includes a map of where the mobile payment zones have been rolled out to date. Here is a link.

    See More: You DEF Should Play Hoboken Parking Bingo


    Will there be any spots in the city unaffected by mobile parking (i.e. any place that people can park their cars free of charge for 4 hours)?

    No, eventually all visitor sides of permit parking zones will be metered for non-permit holders.

    With the new mobile parking, how many hours in advance will the temporary no parking signs be put up?

    Three days, same as before.

    For full/multi day visitor parking passes, will you be able to purchase on the mobile app or still have to purchase through Hoboken?

    The Parkmobile app cannot validate whether someone is a resident or not (a requirement to obtain visitor permits), so having visitor permits available for purchase in the Parkmobile app would open up a Pandora’s Box where anyone from anywhere could purchase all-day on-street parking in Hoboken. With that said, the Department of Transportation and Parking is currently working on upgrading its visitor permits to be virtual/online.

    Residents with an active HPU Online account will be able to purchase visitor permits online and then activate them from the comfort of their home moments later. No more trips to City Hall to purchase scratch off hang tags and then additional trips to place the hang tags in the visiting vehicles. All the host resident needs is the visitor’s license plate number.

    If someone doesn’t have internet access, they can call the Hoboken Parking Utility and HPU will activate the virtual visitor permit for them. We’re hoping to beta test the virtual visitor permits sometime in January.

    Where are the actual parking maps for knowing which streets require which types of payments/permits? {Reader is asking for when she wants to park for a few hours vs when she has on-street permit parking.}

    We’re working on an interactive map that will show parking regulations citywide.

    What was the purpose of this? Isn’t it fairly discriminatory against those who don’t have smart phones and app access or phones {older people, those who can’t afford, etc.} or don’t use electronic banking to pay?

    The City is piloting the pay-by-phone only zones in lieu of installing an additional 100+ parking pay stations across Hoboken. Approximately 95% of Americans currently own a cell phone, and other cities in NJ, such as Newark and Montclair, also have pay-by-phone only zones.

    There are so many advantages to pay-by-phone, including:

    • Push notifications, text messages, or emails that remind you that an active parking session is about to expire;
    • Ability to remotely add more time without having to walk back to a meter;
    • Ability to pay for parking from the comfort of your vehicle on a cold, hot, or rainy day;
    • Ability to store up to five license plates in the Parkmobile app, so you never have to worry about memorizing your license plate again;
    • Records parking transaction history, which is good for record keeping and also helpful in the event of a parking ticket dispute.

    Pay-by-phone only zones also don’t lock out visitors from coming to Hoboken. The small fraction of visitors to Hoboken by car who don’t have a cellphone can still park in pay-by-phone only zones with visitor permits, they can park on a street with a pay station, or they can park in a garage. Hoboken is also the one of the most transit-rich communities in all of North America, and thousands of visitors arrive to Hoboken each week using other modes of transportation.


    If someone wants to stay for longer than four hours in Hoboken who don’t have a parking pass, what are their options?

    The best way to visit Hoboken, by far, is via public transportation. However, for visitors by car who want to stay for longer than four hours, the options are:

    1. Obtain a visitor permit through a resident.
    2. Park in a garage.

    What do you advise Hoboken residents to do if they have visitors staying for more than 4 hours? 

    The four hour limit for non-permit holders is unchanged and is something that’s been around for at least 15 years. The only difference now is that instead of non-permit holders being able to park for free on the “visitor” side of the street in permit parking zones, they now have to pay during those four hours. I would always urge visitors to arrive via public transportation, but those who do visit by car and wish to stay longer than four hours will either need to obtain a visitor permit through a resident or park in a garage.

    Read More: A Guide to Parking in Hoboken in the Snow

    What type of studies were performed or consulting advice was received prior to the new parking policy’s seemingly hasty implementation?  Can any data points be provided to prove its economic benefits?

    In 2014, the City of Hoboken hired an internationally renowned planning firm, Arup, to create a Parking Master Plan for Hoboken. There was an extensive public outreach process as part of the development of the Parking Master Plan. One of the major recommendations that came out of the Parking Master Plan was to convert free visitor parking to metered visitor parking. Here’s a link to the Parking Master Plan: http://archive.hobokennj.gov/docs/parking/Hoboken-Parking-Master-Plan-Final-Report.pdf

    Free parking is generally considered poor urban policy, especially in areas with finite on-street parking supplies and high parking demand, such as Hoboken. Free parking encourages more people to drive, and drivers to park for longer periods of time. This is a lose-lose scenario that leads to a lack of on-street parking availability and an increase in traffic congestion and pollution as drivers constantly circle for parking.

    Is there a plan to implement the policy to all of Hoboken or will there still be free parking offered to non-residents?

    This will be all of Hoboken.

    Hypothetical Question: If family members arrive at 4PM and pay for 4 hours of parking, they’ll then struggle to find new parking when they move their cars at 8PM. To avoid this, many people may instead choose to leave town early rather than find a new parking spot. This will cut back on quality time spent with family as well as Hoboken business revenue.  While the 4-hour parking limit has always been in place, having to pay for each hour of family time will no doubt be a deterrent to visitors. What are your thoughts about this?

    The four hour limit on the visitor sides of permit parking zones is unchanged. This means that whether visitors are paying to park for four hours or not, they still would need to move their cars after four hours. The way to avoid this is to use visitor permits, which can be obtained by Hoboken residents on behalf of their visitors. Visitor permits are also steeply discounted in price compared to visitor side metered parking rates.

    What will the official communication plan be to reach as many people as possible and when will it be rolled out? 

    There was a press release with an FAQ page and tracking map that launched back in late September. Upon completion of the rollout, there will be additional outreach.

     

    That’s what we have so far. While this still may appear unsettling for visitors or those without permits, please share with everyone you know so that they have the information readily available and do not get a parking violation.

    If you have further Qs, please reach out directly to the Hoboken Parking Authority, and if we get enough additional Qs regarding this change we’ll be sure to do another post.

    Leave a comment below on your thoughts about the updates.


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre + rescue pup Finn, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


    8 comments

    • What happens when the app will not let you pay again? For example, last week at 9 PM on a Friday it would not let my mother in love add any more time. All garages were full which was wild, but seems that this will not be the last time
      This happens. What do people do after that happens? If they know they are staying longer than 4 hours and past 9 pm do they just not pay to park to begin with and take the $40 parking ticket instead of paying for a $20-$40 garage that was full anyway?

      Reply
    • Another issue that I would like clarity on (already reached out to the city via phone, email, twitter but got no response): On Washington between 8th and 14th streets they have added “loading zones” on both sides of each block, taking away 4 parking spots on each side. These are on top of the parking spots that were taken away by the weird, completely useless “bump outs” that look like creepy weird rock gardens. So for those of us that live on Washington north of 8th, we have lost somewhere between 8-10 parking spots per block for “loading” but there are very few businesses, particularly on the East side of the street — who is doing all this loading?? Additionally, would really like to understand the logic for making all of these parking spots “reverse in only.” This already has felt incredibly dangerous to do every day.

      Reply
    • If a a friend or family member who visits is handicapped & they have a handicap plate…must they still pay through an app? Btw most of the elder folks who visit do not use mobile apps….at least those in my circle & in those with a flip phone.. Guess no more elder gatherings in Hoboken!!

      Reply
    • This is going to impact small business in a bad way. It definitely won’t help residents. Actually, city hall will be the only beneficiary of these new regulations.

      Reply

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