FAQs

GENERAL INFO

Why implement a new parking initiative now?

The short answer is a managed parking system gets us on the path to securing additional SUPPLY!   Parking has been an issue facing our community for over 50 years! Business owners, employees and visitors frequently express lack of parking in downtown, inadequate signage, and that the current Two-Hour time limit is not an effective way to manage on-street parking.

 

With this Comprehensive Parking Plan, we achieve several goals:

  • Set aside funds dedicated to additional parking supply/facilities

  • Better manage our existing – and limited – parking supply

  • Provide a more convenient and positive experience for patrons, employees and residents

 

What is covered in the plan?

The plan includes pay stations in the commercial areas of downtown (map is attached), an Employee Permit Program, a Resident Permit Program, alternative modes of transportation, and customer-service based compliance.

 

Won’t having to pay make customers go elsewhere and make their experience worse?

Currently, because parking is free, our on-street spaces are almost 100% full with longer-term parkers like employees and students.  This is frustrating for customers, visitors and everyone else because they can’t find parking.  Best practices in other similar sized cities shows that pay-to-park strategies help – longer-term parkers will have other options in dedicated lots and 1-2 blocks away from the core, leaving spaces adjacent to businesses available for customer parking.  Those who are more price-motivated may still park 2-3 blocks away from the core and get free parking. 

A better managed parking system will offer customers convenient parking options and result in a better experience.

What is a “pay station?”

Pay stations are easy to use kiosks that accept payment for parking.  They are more convenient and technologically advanced than old-fashioned meters, and can handle multiple spaces per kiosk, so you won’t see the clutter of individual meters at each space.  On average, one pay station per block face will be installed.  This may vary with additional kiosks installed where there is heavier pedestrian activity.  You may pay at any kiosk, regardless of where you park.

 

Pay stations also have a digital screen to display information, including announcements and messaging about downtown events, activities, etc.

 

An added benefit to pay stations – they are included in the Aggressive Panhandling Ordinance.  Because payment is accepted at these machines, panhandling is not allowed within 25 feet.

 

Where can I park in Downtown Flagstaff?

There are several hundred available on-street parking spaces.  In addition to on-street spaces, parking will be available in public parking lots located at:

  • Phoenix Avenue Parking Lot – 116 W. Phoenix Ave

  • Beaver Street Parking Lot – 102 W. Route 66

  • Visitor Center – 1 E. Route 66

  • Wheeler Park – 212 W. Aspen Ave

  • Lumberyard Brewing Company Lot – 5 S. San Francisco

  • Leroux Street Parking Lot (handicapped parking only) – 14 N. Leroux St

 

What will it cost to park, and what are the hours of operation?

Parking rates are $1.00/hour.  Enforcement times are as follows:

Monday – Wednesday / 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Thursday – Friday / 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday - 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sunday - 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Where can I park for free?

You can easily find free parking downtown!  Follow these helpful tips:

  • Click HERE and look for surface lots marked with a P.   Most City and County lots (with signs "Zoned" F1, F2, F5) are free after 5pm and on weekends.

  • Route 66 offers free parking with a 2 hour maximum Monday - Saturday 9am - 7pm. 

  • Park for free outside the managed area.

 

What information do you need to enter into the pay station?

Start by knowing your license plate number!!  All payment methods require this information.  Helpful tip:  take a picture of your license plate number with your smart phone! 

Patrons have 3 options to pay for parking: 

1) pay at the kiosk with a debit or credit card.  When paying at a kiosk, you will need to enter license plate and payment information each visit.

2) use the mobile app – Whoosh! With the mobile app, you enter the information once and can use the app for future visits and to extend your time.  Create a Whoosh! app by clicking HERE.

 

3) pay cash at the Visitor’s Center, City Hall, ParkFlag offices and participating businesses.

 

What form of payment will be accepted at pay stations?

Pay stations will accept credit/debit cards.  Cash and coin will not be accepted.   Patrons may also download a mobile app – Whoosh! - that allows users to enter information once and use for each visit.  The mobile app will also send a text alert when the meter is about to expire allowing the user to add time by using their cell phone.

 

What if someone wants to use cash and/or coin for payment? 

The Visitors Center, ParkFlag Office, City Hall and many downtown businesses will accept cash/coin, then turn around and pay using the mobile app.

 

I’ve been in cities where you can add money and extend your parking from your phone.  It that possible with this system?

Yes!  If the mobile app has been installed, patrons can extend their stay with just a few prompts.  Business owners that have the app installed can also pay for customers to ensure they keep shopping.

 

How long can I stay in a space?

There is no time limit on pay-to-park spaces.  Visitors and customers are invited to stay parked, but will need to pay as long as the system hours are in operation.

Can I move my car?

Yes.  You can park in any pay-to-park space and move your car as desired.

Can businesses validate parking for their customers?

Yes!  More than 30 businesses are participating in the Parking Angel program where they will take $1 off your purchase, essentially paying for your parking.  See the list of participating businesses HERE.

Why did you choose a license plate ID system versus parking space numbers?

We considered all of the options, and the license plate ID was the most customer-friendly.  Given our Flagstaff climate, space numbers can be hard to see with snow accumulation and our narrow sidewalks make it difficult and expensive to add signs for each space.  Also, with the license plate ID system, visitors can pay once and move their car to different spaces.

 

How do you know these pay stations will work – do other cities have them?

While new to Flagstaff, the pay stations we have selected are manufactured by an industry leader and have been proven to work well in a number of cities.  A short list of cities we researched include:

I drive a motorcycle, do I still have to pay for parking or get a permit?

Yes.  If the vehicle requires a license plate, playing for parking and obtaining a permit is required.

 

Is handicapped parking free?

No.  However, there are designated spaces for those displaying a handicapped license or placard:  Leroux Street surface parking lot (mid-block on Leroux between Route 66 and Aspen), City Hall surface parking lot, and some on-street spaces.

What happens to all of the revenue generated from pay-to-park?

Great question!  The City Council passed an ordinance that formally establishes separate accounting for the parking system.  That means that all revenues/expenses associated with the parking program stay separate from the City’s general fund, and may not be used for other non-parking uses.  Funds in this account must be associated with the operation and maintenance of the parking system and may not be used for other city initiatives, projects, areas of service, etc.

Furthermore – in addition to the separate accounting, there is an additional requirement:  the ordinance also includes language stating that a minimum of 20% of gross revenues must be set aside in a separate fund dedicated to the acquisition of additional parking supply.  This is a key provision that for the first time ever requires funds be set aside for future parking facilities. 

Will the new parking changes apply to the entire city or just the downtown area?

At this time, the parking plan (pay stations & permit parking) with accompanying enforcement applies to the “downtown core” which is mostly Cherry Avenue to the north,  Franklin to the south, Humphreys to the west and Elden to the east.  A map is attached for reference.

QUESTIONS ABOUT EMPLOYEE / BUSINESS OWNER PARKING

What about employees and business owners?  Where will they park?

Employees and business owners have several options! 

  • Employee Permit – more than 350 spaces in dedicated areas have been identified for employee permit parking north and south of the railroad tracks.  The application for an Employee Permit is available now by clicking HERE.  

  • Free Parking – employees and business owners may still park outside of the managed area for free. 

  • Alternative Modes – the Downtown Business Alliance is installing new bike racks throughout downtown to make commuting by bicycle more convenient. 

  • ParkFlag will offer EcoPasses to downtown workers.  The quantity is limited, and those receiving a free EcoPass will not be eligible for an Employee Permit.  Check out NAIPTA’s website HERE form more information on the schedule and benefits of riding Mountain Line.

  • The City is exploring future Park & Ride lots

How much do Employee Permits Cost?

$45/month. 

 

Is my license plate really my permit?

Yes.  There are no physical permits – no stickers or window hangers. 

 

A benefit to this system is you may enter as many license plates as you want on the same permit.  This means that you can park different cars, even rental cars, on the same permit.  However, only one of the cars can park (use the permit) at any one time.

 

Am I guaranteed a parking space?

No.  The number of spaces are limited which, again, is one reason we are now managing parking.

 

Are employee permits valid every day of the year?

No.  Employee permits are not valid when the Armed Forces, Fourth of July, and Holiday Lights parades are scheduled.

 

Is there an incentive for carpooling or vanpooling?

Yes.  Discounted employee permits are available for carpools and vanpools.  All members of the pool will have to enter their vehicle’s license plate on the same permit.  However, only one member will have to have acquired a permit via the lottery. 

QUESTIONS ABOUT RESIDENT PERMIT PARKING

What about the Resident Permit?  How does that work?

This is a process initiated by residents and requires that someone on the block organizes neighbors and takes on the role of “proponent.” 

Helpful Tips - A fact sheet to better understand how to implement Resident Permit Parking can be found by clicking HERE.  For a copy of the Petition, click HERE.

Property owners on each block of a street need to petition ParkFlag in order to have residential permit parking regulations installed.  A majority of the property owners must want the controls, AND, the occupancy of the parking spaces on the block must be more than 75%.

There are two methods for circulating the petition:

  • The organizer prepares and distributes a simple sign-up sheet.  Any answer other than “Yes, I want resident parking controls installed” is counted as a “No” vote.

  • A petition is sent by proponents to property owners via certified mail.  In this case, a lack of response by a property owner will be counted as a vote in favor of installing parking controls.

Who can sign a petition/sign-up sheet for installation of parking controls?

Only property owners can sign to install parking controls. 

 

The block where the water meter is located that serves the property entitles the property owner a vote.  Each water meter gets one vote, regardless of land use, number of units, number of tenants, number of employees, etc.

 

Who can get a resident parking permit?

Property owners go through the process to obtain a resident parking permit after parking controls have been put in place.  Property owners can assign their permit to their tenants, employees and others.  Tenants, employees and others need to work with the property owner to determine who will use the permit.  ParkFlag has no authority to determine who will use the permit.

 

Why are resident permits issued based on water meters?

Issuing permits based on residency, employment, or number of units would require staff to verify personal records.  This would be time intensive for staff to check marriages, partnerships, leases, sub-leases, roommates, employment, etc.

Flagstaff City Council, based on the mission of having a fair and balanced parking system, has determined that using water meters as the determinant of parking rights is the system that is simplest, most predictable, and least prone to fraud.  It’s not perfect, but it also does not require the City to review personal records and requires little or no interpretation.

How many resident permits can I get?

A maximum of four.  Each water meter will get one free parking permit, and additional permits must be purchased. 

What will a resident parking permit cost?

First Permit:              Free

 

Second Permit:         $250 annually

 

Third Permit:             $350 annually

 

Fourth Permit:           $450 annually

 

Is my license plate really my permit?

Yes.  There are no physical permits – no stickers or window hangers. 

A benefit to this system is you may enter as many license plates as you want on the same permit.  This means that you can park different cars, even rental cars, on the same permit.  However, only one of the cars can park (use the permit) at any one time.

Am I guaranteed a space?

No.  The resident parking permit only allows those with a permit to park in the spaces signed “No Parking – R Permit Exempt.”  If those marked spaces on your street are full, you may park in other similarly signed spaces on other blocks.  You may use the unrestricted public parking spaces on your block or any other block.

Resident permits are not valid on the days that the Armed Forces, Fourth of July, and Holiday Lights parades are scheduled.

 

What about my guests?

About half of the parking spaces on a controlled street remain public parking, and guests can always park in those spaces.  In addition, each resident permit holder is entitled to 12 free guest permits per year.  Guest permits allow the permit holder to park for 24 hours in the “No Parking – R Permit Exempt” spaces.  Additional guest permits can be purchased for $5 each through the online portal (link to website address coming soon).

 

What if I own a business in the residential permit parking area?

Businesses located in a residential permit parking area are treated the same as residential use.  First, to have a permitted parking area in place, ALL property owners have the same rights and will be counted “yes” or “no” on the petition.  And, if passed – the same measure is in place – one permit per parking meter.

 

What if we live in the pay-to-park area of Downtown? 

If you live in a property that is exclusively used as a single family residence, you will receive at no cost a permit to park in the same area as employee permit holders (primarily Agassiz, Verde, Eldon, Cherry).

Residents that live in other types of properties can purchase a permit for $60/month to park overnight in one of the City’s public parking lots during the months that the Winter Parking Ordinance is in effect.

Will the Snow Ordinance impact Downtown Residents that utilize on-street parking overnight?

Yes!  The Snow Ordinance will be enforced as posted.  Downtown Residents that do not already have off-street parking secured may purchase a permit for $60/month to park overnight in one of the City’s public parking lots during this time.
 

Who do I contact when I have an issue or concern?

John Portillo is the Parking Manager and oversees the day-to-day operations of the program.   Reach him by email at:  ParkFlag@flagstaffaz.gov; or 928-213-2960.

 

You can also contact the Downtown Business Alliance.  The DBA works closely with the Parking Manager and is here to advocate on behalf of all downtown businesses, employees and property owners.  If you have issues or concerns – consider us your one-stop-shop:  contact us and we’ll find an answer or solution to your concern.   terry@downtownflagstaff.org; 928-275-2655

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND UPDATES ON THE PARKING SYSTEM, CHECK OUT 

PARK FLAG ON FACEBOOK AT: https://www.facebook.com/ParkFlag/