Juneau will have a new parking enforcement system next year

a parking payment box
Juneau drivers who pay for hourly parking have to put coins or bills into slots in a cash box. Parks and Recreation Director George Schaaf said they can get full or jammed. (Katie Anastas/KTOO)

Juneau’s streets and city-owned parking garages will have a new fee collection system this spring.

At a Public Works and Facilities Committee meeting on Monday, Parks and Recreation Director George Schaaf said the current system is time-consuming for drivers and labor-intensive for staff.

“The processes that we use right now would have been right at home in the 1950s and ‘60s, if I’m perfectly honest,” he said. “They haven’t kept up with technology.”

Right now, Juneau residents have to go to City Hall to buy a parking permit. City staff use scissors, a laminating machine and rubber stamps to make about 1,000 parking placards each year. 

Then someone has to walk through the parking garages to check for the placards. It’s a similar process for on-street parking. Juneau Police Department employees drive around in three-wheeled vehicles, looking for illegally parked cars. 

“They go around with a clipboard, a pen and a piece of paper, they note the license plate, the vehicle location, the time of day and the location of a tire valve stem on the vehicle for every single vehicle parked on the street in downtown Juneau every couple of hours,” Schaaf said.

With the new system, the drivers will be able to buy permits online, and they won’t need placards. Cameras will scan license plate numbers as cars enter and exit the parking garages.

The three-wheeled police vehicles will also have cameras. They’ll note the license plate numbers, GPS location and even the location of the valve stem as they drive by. Drivers will be able to pay fines or issue appeals online.

Hourly lots will accept both cash and credit cards. Schaaf said internet connectivity was one of several challenges the city faced when it tried to add pay stations for on-street parking a decade ago. But he said they’ll use the same carrier Docks and Harbors uses with its pay stations now.

“We’re confident they will work with no trouble,” he said.

Schaaf said he’s hopeful the new system will be easier for customers to use and less labor-intensive to run.

He said the parks department is working on a public outreach campaign to educate drivers about the new system.

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