lack of safety features and the charging stations also do not meet legal requirements. That, however, has not stopped Mayor Ballard from proceeding full-steam ahead with the program.
The Indianapolis Star reports:
The curbside charging stations for electric cars being installed across the city are seen by Mayor Greg Ballard as key to an environmentally friendly future — electronic filling stations where, for a couple of bucks, drivers can juice up their Teslas and Volts overnight.
But some small business owners, living in the here and now, say the stations — dedicated mostly to the BlueIndy electric car-share vehicles — are gobbling precious parking spots in premium locations and could cost them customers.
“It hurts us because we’re the type of place where people run in and out and like parking for just a few minutes,” said Joe Vuskovich, owner of Yats, a Cajun restaurant at 54th Street and College Avenue, a few steps from five just-installed chargers.“If people have to park three or four blocks away they might not come at all.”
The dispute is one of several signs of growing tensions over the BlueIndy electric car-sharing program, one of Republican Ballard’s major initiatives to make the city more “green” and position it as a leader in alternative transportation. When the program is at full strength, BlueIndy will have 500 electric rental cars perched at 200 locations, each with five chargers.While councilors are fielding complaints by business owners and patrons about the lost parking spaces due to Blue Indy, they need to pick up the ACS (Park Indy) 50 year privatization contract and review what it says about compensation to the vendor for taking parking spaces out of Commission. The contract says that only a maximum of 200 metered parking spaces can be eliminated during the entire lifetime of the contract. Once 200 spaces are eliminated, the City owes compensation for revenue that those meters would produce for the next 50 years. How many metered parking spaces are being removed pursuant to the Blue Indy program? Are we going to be at 200? Are the hands of the next mayor going to be tied by Mayor Ballard using all 200 freebies during his term?
While councilors are at it, they need to be asking about temporary closures as well. In the contract, the City can only take meters out of commission on a temporary basis for 6% of the days the meters are in operation (365 days minus Sundays and some holidays). That's about 18 days. Scores of meters have been closed "temporarily" for over 18 days. For each meter closed temporarily in excess of 18 days, $20 per meter is owed daily.
To give you an example of how the temporary compensation provision works, about five parking meters on Market Street, in front of the PNC Bank, near the intersection with Delaware Street. The meters are probably bagged as "No Parking" spots half the time I go downtown. Let's say they are out of commission of 150 of the 300 days the parking meters are in operation. That would trigger compensation of 5 x $20 = $100 x 150 days = $15,000.
The way the contract is set up the credit to Park Indy for closed meters are made after the City's revenue share is determined. That way city officials can brag about how much in revenue the privatization contract has earned for the city while not give the real pictures that includes reduction in that revenue for closed meters.
Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana, who broke the original story, has a good article on the subject of the Blue Indy Council resolution being introduced on Monday.