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Hartford Shelves Parking Plan; Amnesty Pays

Gregory Seay

March 31, 2011

City leaders' scuttling of a proposal to privatize its public parking spaces means it will turn attention to maximizing revenue from contractors who manage its three largest sites, authorities say.

Meantime, the city's parking-ticket amnesty program that expires at the end of the day Thursday has exceeded its $200,000 goal and settled more than 10,000 delinquent tickets, an official says.

The Hartford City Council earlier this week voted to indefinitely suspend a move toward leasing long term its 6,300 parking spaces to a private operator in exchange for what was an anticipated upfront $80 million to $120 million payment.

"We're planning to carry on as we have to provide parking solutions to the city,'' Mark McGovern, CEO for the Hartford Parking Authority (HPA), said Thursday.

HPA is the quasi-public agency that oversees the city's 4,600 parking slots in three downtown garages, plus another 1,700 metered curbside spaces.

McGovern said that, pending the outcome of the city's privatization discussions, the authority has had month-to-month management contracts with its largest parking vendor, Central Parking.

Central manages the city's Morgan Street and Church Street garages, along with the on-street parking. Its five-year contracts for each has expired, starting last July with Morgan Street, followed by Church Street in December, and the on-street parking in February, McGovern said.

The next step, he said, is to lock up vendor contracts to manage each of the three parking venues. The authority staff and board are currently reviewing options "with the full expectation to go out to bid on these contracts,'' the CEO said.

The potential exists for spirited bidding, given that downtown Hartford is home to Laz Parking, one of the nation's largest parking-lot owners and managers. Laz recently branched into airport parking, managing lots at Bradley International Airport for a private owner.

Meanwhile, the parking agency's month-long amnesty program that expires at 5 p.m. Thursday is officially a success, McGovern said.

As of Tuesday, the city had recovered $214,000 in past-due fines, he said. That number, he said, is certain to grow by the time the ticket-collection window closes at 5 p.m. and payments still in the mail are counted.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Business Journal. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Business Journal Archives at http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/archives.php.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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