On November 29th, a communication went out to the 1st Avenue Parking Ramp customers. It said in part:
Subject: 1st Avenue Parking Ramp Upgrades
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 22:30:03 +0000
1st Avenue Parking Ramp Customers,
Thank you for your patience as we transition to our new gate equipment. We have experienced some unexpected issues in setting up our new communication network, which has delayed our live date. We are also waiting for the correct gate arms to arrive.
Anticipated Live Date:
Monday Afternoon December 5th (attendant available)
I was downtown on Thursday, December 22nd and parked in the 1st Avenue Parking Ramp. I was ready to try the new system. As I pulled in to take my ticket for hourly parking, this is what I saw:
No ticket. Gate arm up. Did that mean free parking? Sure looked like it to me. I pulled into a space in the ramp and went about my merry way. I came back to my car three hours later and drove to the check out lane and low and behold, it was truly going to be a freebie parking day. As I pulled up to the parking attendant booth, this is what I saw:
It's the end of December and the system has not gone live yet. I checked with a couple of people who work part-time downtown and they said they have been parking for free during the month of December. It is kind of nice that the shoppers and restaurant patrons have been able to park for free during the month of December at the 1st Avenue Parking Ramp. Have to wonder what it has done to the parking revenues though.
It kind of begs the question why the public parking facility officials would go ahead and implement the change when they clearly are not ready to go live with their new parking system. The city laid off two employees who worked at the ramp as parking lot attendants. Why not keep them on until the new system actually goes live so you can still collect the daily parking revenue? Someone doesn't have their eye on the ball. People can say what they want about the previous director, but I doubt seriously that he would have let this snafu happen.
Oh well, park for free at the 1st Avenue Parking Ramp, people! A little present from the City during the Christmas holidays. And maybe it will continue into 2012? I wonder when it is actually going to go live? November 30th and December 5th have come and gone.