City selects vendor to upgrade parking garage equipment but still working on meters

    The city-parish has taken another step in its yearslong effort to upgrade and modernize downtown’s parking system with the selection of an Austin-based vendor to install Access and Revenue Control equipment, or ARC, in three garages and two surface lots owned by the city-parish.

    The winning vendor, one of four that submitted proposals, is Flash Parking, a 10-year-old company with contracts in major cities nationwide, according to city-parish purchasing director Kris Goranson and the company’s website.

    Flash’s proposed contract, which must be approved by the Metro Council, is worth a one-time outlay of $315,000, which will cover equipment purchase, set up and integration, as well as a $13,500 annual fee.

    The investment in the new, smart equipment is expected to save the city-parish more than $100,000 a year off its $700,000 annual management contract with LAZ Parking, which manages the two River Center Garages, City Hall garage, and surface lots.

    Additionally, because the equipment will make the River Center garages more user friendly, the equipment is expected to ultimately generate additional parking revenue.

    “We have a wonderful downtown and once we get past COVID and people are able to use the River Center and our theater and come down here to hear music again, these garages will be easier to use,” Goranson says. “So, this equipment will create some revenue opportunities for us.”

    While the ARC contract is an important step forward, the city-parish has still not awarded the final, important piece of the downtown parking puzzle—a contract estimated to be worth $1 million to install new smart meters and kiosks on downtown streets.

    The city-parish has selected a vendor from among three that submitted bids earlier this year but has not finalized a deal because it’s still trying to determine the mix of single-space meters versus kiosks and has not finalized which option is best for the city parish.

    Goranson expects to finalize terms of the contract by the end of the year.