Thanks to the addition of the ParkMobile app to the existing parking meter infrastructure, and the fact that the two systems can’t communicate – you can park downtown in a metered space for as little as $2 for the entire day — and there’s nothing the city can do to stop it without removing either “1st-hour free parking” or getting rid of the ParkMobile app. Here’s how… and you never even have to leave your office, workplace, or downtown home, thanks to the app.
This is all thanks to Clarksville City Parking Manager Michael Palmore, and his decision to allow “first-hour free parking” on the ParkMobile app, after loud public backlash of it not being included, as an already approved rate in the city rules. Why does this work? The ParkMobile app requires a smartphone, but it isn’t smart. It has no idea if you’re really parked in a spot, when you arrive, or when you leave. It doesn’t even know if you’ve left and come back within your parking session. The app also doesn’t communicate with the parking meters on the street. It has no idea if you’ve paid with the meter, and likewise, the meter has no idea if you’ve paid using the app. This means that parking enforcement officers now use two completely different systems to determine if you’ve paid, overstayed, or violated parking in any way.
So, about that almost-free parking? Since first-hour free parking is enabled on both the ParkMobile App, and it has no idea about if your car is really there unless you tell it, it’s simple: At the beginning of each our, simply tap a button on the app for a new “free first-hour”… in fact, the app will even nicely remind you when your free hour will expire! We tested this and were able to park all-day in downtown Clarksville – as soon as we got the ‘time expired’ notice, we simply clicked for a new first-hour free session. ParkMobile charged us $0.35 for each transaction, however, the city made $0 for the entire day. Here’s a snippet of the transactions we conducted on Monday:
The above transactions can be renewed from your home, your office, while you shop, or even park your car and ride with a friend to Nashville – you can renew from literally anywhere your phone has a connection to the internet.
While this method of all-day parking will cost you $3.15 (with all money going to ParkMobile, the city receiving no revenue), if you’re working downtown and parked outside a retail shop or somewhere that’s easy access to your parking spot, you can park for just $2.40 for the entire day. This is because the meters and ParkMobile have no idea what the other is doing, and you can leverage the first-hour free period between the two for less than an order of fries.
This is one of many parking mishaps created by newly hired Parking Manager Michael Palmore. The parking commission will meet on Tuesday at 3 p.m. to discuss many of the current issues, however, this exact item is not on the agenda, and appears will continue to be a way to get around the city’s parking rates for the foreseeable future.