Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine title=
Santa Barbara City Parking Lot #5 on Chapala Street
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara City Council voted Tuesday to approve $700,000 for automated license plate readers that will eventually replace downtown parking kiosk workers.

Pre-pandemic there were approximately 100 employees, also called "kiosketeers," who routinely greeted visitors at downtown Santa Barbara parking lots and handled parking fees, it's now down to 45. Since COVID-19 most downtown lots have been opened without employees as the city loses about $50,000 per week.

Roughly twenty hourly employees are expected to remain to handle the transition to automated parking. Overall the transition is estimated to save the city $1.1 million per year.

Other options proposed during the meeting would be to eliminate the 75-minute free parking period in all lots or increasing the hourly rate to $2, but this was ultimately shot down as businesses owners are already struggling with the pandemic. 

The council voted 6-1 to approve the new program which will take approximately one year to fully transition.

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a-1605976497 Nov 21, 2020 08:34 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

I’ve noticed only one kiosk employee who held the job for any length of time (a cheerful white haired woman who worked across the street from the main entrance to the library on Anapamu). With such turnover, and hiring and training being expensive, this is a good change.

dukemunson Nov 20, 2020 08:19 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

I’ve lived in sb for almost my entire life and I’ve honesty never had a bad interaction with a parking kiosk worker... they have pretty much universally been amazingly pleasant! But.. in the 21st century their job doesn’t makes sense. Add in COVID... an their job ABSOLUTELY DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! We’ve all managed parking lots in which you have to put your credit card or cash in and pay before you leave. It’s life... it’s very doable, not to mention easy and logical.

mtndriver Nov 20, 2020 02:25 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Makes me so sad. Over the years, must have had thousands of interactions with the kiosk workers, every single one a pleasure. They are SB ambassadors. All those people out of work, and who will manually open the gate when the machines act up? Ugh. Just ugh.

NostraChumash Nov 20, 2020 11:32 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Considering the vast # of knowlegable experts on this board..
Those who call names or attempt to insult the intellect of others..
I fully expect to see their names on the dockets of our next city elections.
Unless those brilliant commentors are going to step to the plate & make a difference( put $ where mouth is)..and get a gov position in town..well, they're just selling " wolf tickets",
as is said.

Ehdat Nov 20, 2020 10:36 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

@John Wiley, this is not new. Paseo Nuevo has a popular parking lot that is already doing this for years. No big brother, no tin foil hat NWO.. just recognizing plates to move traffic more efficiently. Yes, there are kiosks available to pay for an exit ticket, but this eliminates having to get out of your vehicle or push buttons. In the future, there will still be staff to maintain these systems and provide for customer experience. Many people bitch and complain about never finding parking while they circle the blocks, because they hate dealing with kiosks.

Bird Nov 20, 2020 11:22 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Even though there is limited area close-by street parking, Paseo Nuevo's is _not_ a popular parking lot! Except, maybe, at holiday time, but this year?

Seems to me that Santa Barbara should be looking into ways of employing the many unskilled, low income workers rather than eliminating work opportunities. This is so especially with what will be probably a whole year of substandard schooling that will affect most public school students. (fyi, see N. Kristof's column in yesterday's NYT that bars and restaurants should be closed and schools open.) Yet Santa Barbara instead is rushing to automate and eliminate that employment. Agreeing with "Sundown" re the upcoming wave of automation.

Sundown Nov 19, 2020 12:54 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

This upcoming wave of automation will displace many workers, and diminish tax base.
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang warned us, even writing a book on subject.
An earlier book, the End of Work, warned us in 1996. (Also, Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano, in 1952).
There will be a tsunami of job displacement in next ten years. Other than Yang's "Freedom" check,
only solutions I've heard are from California's governor.....he's at least curious how we can lessen impact.

Schifter Nov 20, 2020 05:53 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Sundown, nice mention of Wang--shortly after he dropped out of the race, all of America (well, most of it) got one of his freedom checks by way of the pandemic CARES Act. Wang was ahead of his time--MONTHS ahead of his time! I only wish he got more credit. But people are identity-obsessed and Wang's not the right color for the Democratic party. Shucks.

Resident Nov 19, 2020 09:36 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

The concept of using license plate readers needs a better explanation. There are numerous parking lots in large cities like LA that use a system where you get your ticket on entry then go to a kiosk when you are ready to depart, pay at the automated kiosk and get a validated ticket to put in the exit gate controller. Simple and no convoluted license plate readers involved. Perhaps our city staff needs to do a bit more research.

BigDD Nov 19, 2020 09:18 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Sad news. Parking is plentiful, easy to access and free for first 75 minutes. Add to that the always pleasant and friendly kiosk attendants and you can't beat Downtown SB for a high value parking experience. I can't think of a single time when I have not been greeted with a wave and a smile upon entering a structure, and an equally friendly send-off when departing. We sure won't be getting that with plate readers. This is a perfect example of a "schlemmbe" Yiddish for a supposed improvement that is not. Score one for technology and zero for us humans.

OWLworks Nov 19, 2020 09:11 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Here they go again? Government officials always claim "more license" and now want to capture that. What will be court costs, and administrative costs to do this? Complaints, damage? Please let's stop using COVID for all kinds of rationalizations! It is getting old and annoying. Worse, sounds like a done deal? This reflects the rampant and controlling attitude by elected officials and bureaucrats who do this irrational math for their own benefit. This is getting worse, and our town looks like it . Safe distance now means avoid downtown--it is a mess. I know better ways to save a million every year! When I taught Organizational Psychology years ago--my theme was: NONHUMAN systems are inherently INHUMANE in what they decide to do without conscience nor conscious reflection. Is this humane? Money savings at the expense of needed jobs for people who support tourism cash cows? These folks actually help people with other matters as well. What gives cities the right to WASTE other people's time? That is a cost too. There are so many unaddressed "what ifs..." I would bet and action on them will cost money. Understaffing has negative long term effects on Community.
I have to travel at lot, and "back ups" delay, lot rage, or machine issues are incredibly frustrating. People are usually in a hurry to get somewhere else. What will the savings really be with unsupervised areas? New hangouts and areas for crime. Also we have a population of young residents (3 adult schools) who need part-time jobs, retirees who need work to live here, and I can assure you that savings was based on assumptions there is NO cost ignoring that crime or homelessness takes over these sites as in other "unguarded" cities and parking lots. Frustration escalates, damage is done to the machines and serious back ups happen. They also rip down signs with their cars--cover their plates. I also wonder if License plates will be stolen as they are now by criminals?
For god's sake get a grant or look for additional funding for these positions from State funded job development programs. The City is liable if bad things happen and it was not vigilant.
Do we care about real people and their livelihood or just want to keep controlling them with more
negative experiences and costs of living here? Why not a parking fee per year like the harbor area, and keep the 75 minutes with a simple increase. I remember when parking here was free. It was a better place to live and work.

Bird Nov 20, 2020 08:36 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Thank you, Rex (and your beautiful (handsome) husky)! I will head to Ventura this weekend - I love going to Barnes and Noble and haven't been there for more than year. Interesting about the lack of the declared Daytonian war on cars that some of our City Council engage in. I used to shop in downtown but with a few exceptions, Home Improvement on Gutierrez, if that's downtown, all but food shopping is online, exc. for sorties to Costco. I look forward to a Ventura weekend. <g>

REX OF SB Nov 19, 2020 01:15 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

BIRD: Ventura's downtown is far more expansive than Santa Barbara's, so even with the shutdown of portions of some streets to vehicular traffic, motorists can still get around. The downtown Santa Barbara State Street food court is a nightmare. The only businesses that seem to be benefitting are restaurants. I'd be interested in how other businesses are faring. My Bank, Bank of the West, recently closed its main branch at State & Figueroa, and its only location now is on upper State Street, far away from the food court.

Unlike Santa Barbara, Ventura has not declared a war on cars, and thus remains shopper-friendly. Other than the local supermarkets and occasional Costco run, I now shop pretty much exclusively in Ventura and Oxnard. Unfortunately, I think the State Street food court is here to stay.

RHS Nov 18, 2020 06:14 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

What is lost in in this stuff being pushed by "enterprising industry folks" is that they will make a big profit and then will upgrade or change the program so they will get more time and time again. Worse, however, is that the type of entry level work that so many of us were able to find is disappearing and the landscape is littered with the end result. Some of these workers (not specifically the parking lot folks) may not have competency to do other things, some need the job to tide them over a rough time or supplement their living while in studies, or simply because it is a proof of their value. The callous and grasping decision to eliminate this is despicable.

DBD Nov 19, 2020 11:45 AM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

As the min wage keeps getting higher and higher, i'm worried more and more of these entry level positions will disappear. The delta between man vs machine is shrinking for better worse depending which side of the equation you're on. #lawofunintendedconsequences

fran60 Nov 18, 2020 05:09 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

I think that this is the most ridiculous think SB has ever done! These people are often the light of my day, and when I was new they helped me find things. Where are the new to work kids going to get jobs? Why cannot they work now with masks? How long will it take for the city to get back the 700K they invested to replace humans.

Man, this is worse than LA.

Add in the lawsuits when someone cannot get out because of machine failure.

JUST DUMB!

John Wiley Nov 18, 2020 02:11 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Data collection, sales and sharing? How much data is collected by the plate reader(s), will it include facial recognition cameras for the drivers, where and how long is it stored, with what other agencies or companies is it shared, and what are the security measures to prevent surreptitious collection and to protect this data from hackers? Have these factors been considered, are they any cause for concern, and if so which factors and why?

a-1605752407 Nov 18, 2020 06:20 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

I was stuck in an underground parking lot in Bilbao trying to get out. Drove up to the gate . No one there to explain what I had to do. Cars piling up behind me. Finally another driver took pity and explained to me that I had to pre-pay my fee in another part of the garage. She actually took my ticket and returned a few minutes later with it paid. She would not take anything from me. Angel! But, yes, we need someone at the exit to sort these things out. (BTW had a similar problem in a SF lot but they had CCT on me and came over and helped to keep the line moving.)

REX OF SB Nov 18, 2020 01:17 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

So how exactly will this scheme work? What if you're driving a car from a state with no front license plate? Does the scanner also read the rear plate? How will a handicapped driver show his/her disabled placard to get the discounted parking rate? Will there be a live person on hand to deal with the inevitable screw-ups that were pointed out by @11:32? How do you pay?

Mark my words, this will end in tears.

Voice of Reason Nov 18, 2020 02:18 PM
Downtown Parking Kiosk Workers to be Replaced by License Reading Machine

Cadillackid, there is a solution! Remove the restrictions that have proven over the past 8 months to be very effective at destroying small businesses and jobs, and very ineffective at controlling the spread of covid-19. Let those that choose to do so go about their lives safely, knowing we are in a pandemic. Those that choose to stay home because they're at-risk, or because they are afraid of a virus that's comparable to the flu (for those not at-risk), are free to do so. Businesses start to recover from increased activity, downtown parking revenue increases, many many jobs saved.

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