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Parking Management and Modernization Services Project Questions and Answers

8/13/2018

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”) is soliciting proposals from highly qualified respondents that are interested in providing operations and modernization services for Metro’s on-street metered parking system.

1. Why is Metro doing this?

Nashvillians deserve one of the most innovative and well-run parking systems in the nation, with the ability to anticipate and implement leading-edge approaches to curb space management. Metro’s current on-street parking system relies on outdated technology with antiquated payment features, produces no real-time information for users and managers of the system, and lacks best-practice approaches to efficient enforcement and collections found in other cities.

2. How much on-street parking does Metro currently manage?

Metro’s on-street parking system consists of curb space that accommodates approximately 1,894 parking meter spaces, located primarily in the downtown core (approximately 906 spaces) and the adjacent Midtown area (approximately 988 spaces).

3. Why are Metro’s garages in the downtown area excluded?

Metro’s consultants at Faegre Baker Daniels completed an analysis of the Metro-owned garages at Public Square and the downtown library to identify advantages and disadvantages of including the garages at this stage of the modernization effort. Given its current state, modernization of Metro’s on-street metered system is expected to generate significant service improvements and financial upsides. The garages, by contrast, are relatively modern operations, managed efficiently by the Nashville Downtown Partnership, with a lengthy list of contracted customers and stakeholders. Weighing what the consultants determined would likely be modest improvements against the additional complexity to an already challenging process, Metro decided to exclude the garages; however, they could be incorporated into the new system later.

4. What does Metro expect to achieve as a result of modernizing its parking system?

Metro’s goals for this initiative include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Maximize user convenience while at the same time achieve sustainability and travel demand management (TDM) goals by managing on-street parking efficiently and effectively;
  • Ensure that parking is affordable and produces revenue to support Metro priorities;
  • Ensure that residents can park in proximity to their homes without competition from those who do not live in the area;
  • Provide options for managing disability parking enforcement in order to make sure that spaces set aside for those with disabilities are available to them;
  • Produce real-time and accurate management data on parking trends, uses, and revenues;
  • Manage the curb space now utilized in Metro’s on-street parking system, as well as explore new potential methods of managing curb space, for uses such as drop-off/pick-up zones for ride-sharing, access for autonomous vehicles and delivery trucks, or other special permit parking, such as to encourage wider adoption of low- or no-emission vehicles.

5. Is Metro selling its on-street parking system?

No. Metro has issued a request for proposals seeking a concession agreement, structured as a contractual relationship between Metro and a private partner in which Metro would grant certain operating, management, and revenue collection rights to the partner in exchange for two up-front payments of $15 million each in FY 2019 and FY 2020 and a periodic payment stream (i.e. revenue share) over the duration of the agreement. The agreement will be structured as one that allows Metro every five years, beginning in the 10th year, to determine whether to continue the relationship resulting in an agreement between 10 and 30 years at Metro’s discretion. Similar agreements in other cities typically range from 30 to 50 years, and Metro’s up-front payment request is comparatively modest.   

6. What services will the partner be responsible for?

Metro has issued an RFP that asks respondents to identify and propose how best-in-class parking and curb space management solutions from cities around the world can be deployed in Nashville. The evaluation criteria listed in the RFP explain how Metro will make a decision about entering into an agreement with a partner, but, generally, that decision will take into account what is best for all users of the system (drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians), businesses, neighborhoods, employees, the environment, and the budget. The scope of services in an agreement will exclude policy and rate-setting but could include any or all of the following activities: responsibility for future capital improvements, enforcement, collection, new technology, data analytics, financial/operational reporting, and/or customer service. The final scope of services will be identified and negotiated through the procurement and contracting processes, subject to approval from the Traffic and Parking Commission and Metro Council.

7. How many Metro employees could be impacted as a result of an agreement with a partner?

There are several Metro departments or agencies responsible for managing aspects of the on-street parking system, including Public Works, Police, Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk, Traffic Violation Bureau, Traffic Warrant Division, and others. Representatives from these departments or agencies have been participating in a working group since mid-2017 to prepare for this modernization effort and will continue to be engaged through procurement, contracting, and implementation if Metro decides to enter into an agreement with a partner. It is difficult to estimate how many employees could be impacted until the scope of services in any potential agreement is finalized, but preliminary analysis indicates that approximately 10 employees in Public Works could be impacted under many scenarios. Metro Legal is actively engaged in this effort and will continue to advise on any aspects of Metro Code section 4.12.095 dealing with privatization contracts that may apply.

8. Why can’t Metro do this on its own?

Metro has neither the financial resources nor the subject matter expertise to develop and maintain a best-in-class on-street parking and curb management system, where technology and best practices will continue to rapidly evolve. Entering into an agreement with a partner to develop and manage the system presents Metro with the best opportunity to achieve its goals.

9. How many private partners will be interested in this work?

While we do not know how many private partners will respond to the RFP, due diligence conducted by Metro’s consultants confirmed that this will be an attractive and highly competitive opportunity, given its size and Nashville’s reputation as a vibrant and growing community.

10. What about minority and women-owned businesses?

The RFP includes a target of at least 15% Small, Minority, Woman-owned and/or Service Disabled Veteran-owned participation, and the respondent’s diversity plan is worth 10 points (out of 100) in the evaluation criteria. According to Metro’s consultants, similar efforts in other cities resulted in meaningful DBE participation, and Metro expects the same for this opportunity.

11. How will policy issues be handled if Metro enters into an agreement with a partner to operate and modernize the parking system?

Policy issues could include but are not limited to:

  • Meter rates;
  • Meter bagging (for special events);
  • Blocking meters (for construction);
  • Meter enforcement;
  • Ticket costs;
  • Street sweeping;
  • Rush hour enforcement;
  • Valet space management;
  • Adding or removing meters (including timing and location);
  • The use of dynamic or real-time/variable pricing (including where, when, and how); 
  • Hours of operation; and
  • Management of disabled parking.

The Traffic and Parking Commission will retain control over parking rates and other policy issues. Any partner engaged would follow and enforce Metro rates and policies, not create its own.  

12. What keeps the partner from writing too many tickets?

If the private partner were engaged to enforce Metro’s parking regulations under an agreement, it would be required to do so consistent with Metro-established regulations, policies, and procedures, overseen by the Traffic and Parking Commission. However, any partner that Metro might engage will almost certainly deploy technology to make finding parking, paying for parking, and avoiding a ticket easier.  New technology may include smartphone apps that locate available parking near a driver’s destination, as well as credit card and pay-by-phone options.

13. How much money could Metro earn from its parking system?

There are too many variables to accurately predict the value of Metro’s on-street parking system at this point. Variables include, but are not limited to, future meter pricing and ticket costs, policies on enforcement and collections, and addition/deletion of meters—all aspects of this initiative that the Traffic and Parking Commission will continue to control under any agreement with a partner. Value will also be influenced by the contract term, inflation, Nashville’s future growth, and the expansion of ride sharing and autonomous vehicles. That said, Metro is requesting two up-front payments of $15 million each in FY 2019 and FY 2020, plus revenue share over the term of the contract.

14. Will Metro add more meters as a result of entering into an agreement?

Respondents to the RFP are asked to explain how metered parking could be expanded and how any potential expansion (or removals) would impact the revenue share in the financial model. However, Metro does not know at this time whether, where, or when it would add/remove meters, all of which is subject to approval by the Traffic and Parking Commission. Metro Planning completed an analysis (included in the RFP packet) to identify several potential expansion areas using space requirements for Metro’s existing meters and assumptions of minimum density and proximity to commercial activity needed for viability of metered parking. Based on the results of that analysis, Metro identified areas where the absence of metered spaces could be adversely impacting access to neighborhood and retail amenities and estimated that the on-street parking system could be expanded by as many as 4,500 metered spaces. If Metro enters into an agreement with a partner, staff from Public Works, Planning, and/or other Metro departments will work with Metro Council Members and the community to develop a process for proposing, evaluating, and implementing expansions of Metro’s on-street system.

15. Will there be changes to Metro’s residential parking permit program?

Respondents to the RFP are asked to identify and recommend approaches to residential permitting and how best practices could be implemented in Nashville. Any proposed changes as a result of an agreement with a partner would be subject to approval by the Traffic and Parking Commission.

16. Who is on the RFP review committee?

The Evaluation Committee includes senior leaders from various Metro departments, including Finance, Information Technology Services, Planning and Public Works, as well as representatives of the Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Greater Nashville Regional Council.