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Paid parking in Uptown is now here. After more than a year of discussion and planning, the 101 paid parking spaces on Main Street became operational as of Wednesday, June 28.

In order to develop this program, the city has been working with the Uptown Paid Parking Implementation work group. This group includes merchants and property owners, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the Uptown Rangers and representatives from the city.

Assistant City Manager Karen Osburn said in addition to the pay stations, new signage will be in place not only to alert motorists of the paid parking but those directing them to the hundreds of free parking spaces at eight locations off Main Street.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to decide where they want to park if they don’t want to pay for these spaces,” she said.

Parking will be free on Main Street from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. seven days a week.

The 13 pay stations selected by the work group are the T2 Luke II model and offer a variety of options including:

  • Bright, colorful screen with 1, 2, 3 instructions.
  • Accept multiple payment options: Bills, coins, credit cards and a pay by phone app option.
  • Pay by license plate environment does not require a ticket or a return trip to the vehicle.
  • Option to get a reminder text when time is close to expiration and option to extend meter time by phone — even without using the app.
  • Customized red rock red colors and digital screen messages.

The Luke II pay stations work like an ATM. Patrons will type in their license plate and follow the stepby-step instructions on the screen. Or, they can pay by phone using the PassportParking app.

There is a fee structure that was proposed by the committee. However, the Sedona City Council was scheduled to discuss it during its Tuesday, June 27, meeting. That decision will appear in the Friday, June 30, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

City officials have guaranteed that all funds from the paid parking will be put toward projects that benefit Uptown, such as a municipal parking garage. When discussion first began on paid parking, the city received its share of push back from the public, especially from Uptown merchants who feared it may drive customers away.

“I think many of the merchants are still concerned,” Osburn said. “This is a new program and they’re not exactly sure how it may impact business so there’s some fear there, which we certainly understand. This is why we’ve taken extra steps to be able to make sure that the program is set up to be as successful as it can be.”

Because of those concerns from merchants, she said the city will also be tracking sales tax from selected businesses in Uptown and compare them to Hillside and West Sedona. This way they can see if paid parking is negatively impacting Uptown businesses.

In addition to the parking app, the city has printed up brochures that not only explain the paid parking but show where people can go to park for free. These will be distributed through the Sedona Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Center, information centers, area hotels and will be available from the Uptown Rangers.

The city will also have a new page on its website explaining the program in detail. An aspect that some may be surprised by is that the parking program uses a vehicle’s license plate number as opposed to the space the car is parked in.

Osburn said the reasoning was because using license plates is the only way to enforce timed parking — since meters are not located at each spot. This helps promote more turnover [ideally at 85 percent occupancy], which benefits the businesses.

“In a pay-by-space environment, as long as that space is paid for, we don’t know who’s there,” she said. “The license plate option also doesn’t require you to go back to your vehicle, so hopefully it will be a little more convenient. And the pay-by-space environment requires us to paint large numbers all along Main Street on the ground, which wasn’t the aesthetic we wanted to have. So, pay-by-plate seems to be the best option for us.”

While each space won’t be numbered, there is a sensor in each so that the city can monitor usage. Sensors will also be placed in each space in the free municipal parking lot. Enforcement will still be the responsibility of the city’s community service aides.

But instead of marking tires with chalk and writing tickets by hand, everything will be automated using hand-held devices. They can type in the first two to three license plater letters or numbers and see how much time is left for that vehicle.

Like it has been for those who exceeded three hours in one spot, the fine will be $40.

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