The city of Nashville has requested that private companies submit proposals on ways to improve street parking in Nashville, mainly by updating the metered parking in the city and bringing the technology to a new level.
"Metro's objective is to upgrade its parking technology by integrating state-of-the-art hardware, software, and operating solutions in order to provide added convenience to users," the request for proposals stated.
"Right now, we've got these nearly 2,000 meters, and what do they take by in large?" Councilman Freddie O'Connell questioned. "Quarters."
In most major cities, parking meters have been changed to adapted to take credit cards or payments by phone, so Nashville is looking to talk to private companies about ways to improve the way Nashville parks.
"There are people that have been doing this in other major American cities. If they can demonstrate the return on the investment, and we know that metro is going to get a revenue, then great," O'Connell said.
A large portion of the city's meters are in O'Connell's district, and he said in addition to the update to meters, there will be opportunities to add up to 4,500 additional metered parking spots, as well as opportunities to potentially remove some metered parking to optimize transportation throughout Nashville.
"The first part is optimizing your existing inventory. Step two is: Did this work? And should we expand it?" O'Connell explained. "It's not a fundamental given, all of those things are potential, and first you pilot this whole thing."
Mayor David Briley has spoken in favor of looking into the possibility of getting a private company to update Nashville's metered parking situation in the past.
"We're not software developers, right? In Nashville, that's not what the government does, so we want to see what the private sector can do to give us better opportunities to manage our curb," Briley said. "We're not selling anything, we're just trying to find out what the best technology, the best way to manage our curbside is."
Other potential changes according to the request for proposal from teh city includes the potential change of who enforces the meters.
Currently, Metro Police parking enforcement monitor parking meters, but that job could potentially be outsourced, and ticket prices could potentially be increased.
In exchange for the city granting certain operating, management, and revenue collection rights to the partner, the city would require a minimum of two up-front payments of $15 million for the first two years, with a periodic payment stream, or revenue share, over the duration of the agreement, which could be up to 30 years.
The monies currently collected through parking meters are earmarked for traffic and parking improvements.
Outside companies have until September 27 to propose changes and updates to Nashville's meter situation.