Parking & Mobility magazine, November 2021

Page 36

Trading informational courtesy cards for parking tickets makes a big difference in public perception for a Connecticut parking authority. By Kathryn Hebert, PhD



E ALL KNOW parking enforcement is a

necessary tool in the toolbox in the world of parking and mobility management. And we know that when people receive a parking ticket, it becomes a negative, lasting memory and experience. We’ve heard all sorts of expletives and four-letter words from people who have received parking tickets and, of course, some of the excuses are quite creative. Parking enforcement doesn’t have to be all negative or a fourletter-word inducing experience. Using technology and communication tools, there are ways that we can continue to enforce while creating and shifting those negative perceptions to positive experiences. Here is one way that the Norwalk, Conn., Parking Authority changed enforcement perception and turned it into a successful, sustainable program.

Being Strategic

After implementing parking management changes that included parking rate increases and extending enforcement hours of operation in 2017, Norwalk Parking Authority (NPA) received many complaints from residents, businesses, and elected and appointed officials. There was also concern about the perception of aggressive enforcement and the number of parking tickets they were issuing. Instead of reacting and shutting down consistent parking ticket issuance and enforcement operations or reducing ticket issuance, the parking team, with support from the NPA, collectively decided to take a more strategic approach. This included: ■  Developing a quick response to the public. ■  Continuing consistent parking enforcement. ■  Making decisions based on data and confirmed results. ■  Communicating in a friendly, clear fashion. ■  Creating community goodwill. A heavy lift but not impossible.