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January 28, 2020, 09:46:57 am
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  HB 22-05: Parking Protection Act (Debating)
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Author Topic: HB 22-05: Parking Protection Act (Debating)  (Read 271 times)
Speaker Thumb21
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« on: January 08, 2020, 12:34:13 pm »

Quote
PARKING PROTECTION ACT

To protect Atlasians from extortion by parking sharks

Be it enacted by the Congress of the Republic of Atlasia assembled
Quote
SECTION I: TITLE.
This law shall be referred to as the Parking Protection Act.

SECTION II: FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:

(a) Parking sharks operate parking facilities with the intention of extorting as much money as possible from the general public, often through dishonest means.
(b) Parking facilities are a nessessity for many people, especially those who live in urban areas or don't have a private parking area attached to their place of residence.
(c) Parking operators have a responsibility to make the terms of parking clear.

SECTION III: DEFINITIONS.

(a) Parking is the process of leaving a vehicle in a designated space courtesy of the owner of that space.
(b) A parking fee is a fee levied on behalf of the owner of a parking area in return for permission to park in that area for a given period of time.
(c) The operator refers to the organisation appointed by the owner to manage a parking area.
(d) Unorthorised parking refers to when a vehice is parked in violation of the terms set out by the operator responsibly for the parking space.
(e) Clamping is the application of a clamp to prevent a vehicle from being moved in order to extract money from the driver.

SECTION IV: PROTECTIONS.

(a) Parking fees are hereby capped at $0.75 an hour.
(b) Any charges levied for unauthorised parking are hereby capped at $20 per offense.
(c) A grace period shall be implemented in which drivers cannot be charged for unauthorised parking less than 20 minutes before or after the authorised period.
(d) Parking operators must allow a 2 month period after the driver has been notified to pay charges levied for unauthorised parking before any further action can be taken.
(e) Clamping is hereby banned and treated as property damage.
(f) Parking operators are required by law to provide signage clearly explaining the terms of parking.
(g) Should the terms of parking not be clearly visible to drivers, operators do not posess the right to charge drivers for unauthorised parking.

SECTION V: IMPLEMENTATION.

(a) This act shall take effect on Monday the 5th of October 2020.

Sponsor: Thumb21
House Designation: HB 22-05

72 hours to debate.
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2020, 01:27:18 pm »

This bill is a consumer protection bill aimed to protect drivers from many predatory companies that operate car parks and reduce costs. These companies make a lot of money taking advantage of people just trying to go about their day. In many cases, people who don't have a driveway or any other parking available.

The bill makes the following changes:
> Parking fees are capped at $0.75 per hour. The average for on-street parking hourly is $1 while off-street parking is $11 a day on average, or $0.46 an hour. So this limit isn't very radical, but it curtails any particularly extortionate fees and cuts costs for drivers. If you have an issue with those averages I gave, tell me. I've never parked in the US.
> Parking fines for unauthorised parking are capped at $20 a time. Parking fines are extortionately expensive. There is no good reason why someone should have to pay $50-100 for accidentally overstaying.
> A grace period of 20 minutes before and after the time booked for parking is allowed to avoid more costs. There are many times where someone doesn't have any coins on them and can't pay immediately, or a delay happens and they can't get back on time. This allows some flexibility.
> A two month period is allowed before the operator can take any further action to chase up owed fines. This allows time for the driver to put forward an appeal or complain.
> Bans clamping. Clamping is effectively taking your car hostage. It completely ruins any plans the driver had for the next few days, even risking their job if they can't get to work. It is a completely ridiculous way to extract a fine.
> Parking operators are legally required to show signage clearly. Parking is a contract and drivers deserve to see all the terms before they park. If this isn't obeyed, any fines are void.
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Representative Elcaspar
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2020, 01:50:04 pm »

I am always supportive of consumer protection measures, and this one is no exception. It's always a good thing to limit the predatory practices that companies sometimes use to unfairly profit from consumers. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2020, 03:14:06 pm »

As the cofounder of the Lincoln Railroad Party and a strong transit advocate, I have to say I strongly oppose this bill on its premises. All this will do is further cement the car-centric design of many Atlasian cities when we should be trying to do the opposite in order to increase transit efficiency and sustainability.

Quote
(b) Parking facilities are a nessessity for many people, especially those who live in urban areas or don't have a private parking area attached to their place of residence.
The reason parking facilities are a necessity for so many is decades of policy that has forced cars to become a necessity of living in most cities. This is something that we should absolutely not be accepting as an inevitable fact - rather, we should be actively trying to build up transit in every large Atlasian city in order to drastically reduce car dependence.

Also:

Quote
> Parking fines for unauthorised parking are capped at $20 a time. Parking fines are extortionately expensive. There is no good reason why someone should have to pay $50-100 for accidentally overstaying.

In most transit systems that exist within Atlasia, the punishment for fare evasion is a fine up to (or even higher than) $300, potential jail time, and a criminal record. Compared to this, parking fines, as you’ve pointed out, are only $50-100 (and being paid by drivers, who are overall a much wealthier group than transit users) with no similar criminal consequences. Further reducing the max fine only for parking would be a further commitment to the idea that drivers can do whatever they want on public roads with little to no consequences while transit users are punished in a dramatically disproportionate manner - an idea that ultimately is rooted in the same authoritarian policing ideals that gave us stop-and-frisk and the War on Drugs.
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Representative fhtagn
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2020, 03:46:55 pm »

This will only make finding parking worse in areas where parking spaces are already scarce.
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2020, 04:42:00 pm »

As the cofounder of the Lincoln Railroad Party and a strong transit advocate, I have to say I strongly oppose this bill on its premises. All this will do is further cement the car-centric design of many Atlasian cities when we should be trying to do the opposite in order to increase transit efficiency and sustainability.

Quote
(b) Parking facilities are a nessessity for many people, especially those who live in urban areas or don't have a private parking area attached to their place of residence.
The reason parking facilities are a necessity for so many is decades of policy that has forced cars to become a necessity of living in most cities. This is something that we should absolutely not be accepting as an inevitable fact - rather, we should be actively trying to build up transit in every large Atlasian city in order to drastically reduce car dependence.

I don't agree with the idea that either you build up transit, or you take measures to improve the immediate situation. We need a lot more investment in transit for the good of people who use it and to get more people off cars - and to say that we also need to stop extortion by parking sharks aimed at taking advantage of people doesn't contradict that. The fact is that most people use cars and so while that is the case, the rights of drivers should be protected. The result of that could be some more people using cars in the short term, but the solution to that is to invest in transit, not to allow parking sharks to go unchallenged.

Quote
Also:

Quote
> Parking fines for unauthorised parking are capped at $20 a time. Parking fines are extortionately expensive. There is no good reason why someone should have to pay $50-100 for accidentally overstaying.

In most transit systems that exist within Atlasia, the punishment for fare evasion is a fine up to (or even higher than) $300, potential jail time, and a criminal record. Compared to this, parking fines, as you’ve pointed out, are only $50-100 (and being paid by drivers, who are overall a much wealthier group than transit users) with no similar criminal consequences. Further reducing the max fine only for parking would be a further commitment to the idea that drivers can do whatever they want on public roads with little to no consequences while transit users are punished in a dramatically disproportionate manner - an idea that ultimately is rooted in the same authoritarian policing ideals that gave us stop-and-frisk and the War on Drugs.

Again, I think you can walk and chew gum at the same time. I don't see drivers and transit users as two opposed groups. Either you help one or the other. Both include working class people who need to go to work and pay the bills and both should be protected, and while you are right to say drivers are on average wealthier, it is worth pointing out that parking charges disproportionately hurt poorer drivers. You bring up an important point about ridiculous punishments for fare evasion, which I don't believe contradicts the argument behind this bill, which is that people shouldn't be punished so harshly just for trying to go to work or go about their day. It is an argument for a bill on that too, which I'd be happy to work on.
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2020, 04:55:24 pm »

This will only make finding parking worse in areas where parking spaces are already scarce.

Operating car parks is an extremely profitable business. So long as you own land and can afford to put tarmac on it, do the admin and employ some wardens; and so long as people are willing to park there, you will make a profit. This bill cuts those profits but it'd still be a profitable business and people will still operate car parks where there is demand for it.
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Rep. tack50 (Lab-Lincoln)
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2020, 05:18:21 pm »

Yeah, I stand in opposition to this bill for very similar reasons to the ones Sestak presented. We should not be incentivizing the use of cars for transportation by making parking easier, but rather the opposite.

If I was drafting an amendment to save the bill I would probably just delete parts a-d of Section III (leaving only the anti-clamping and the clear signage provisions), but I wonder what else thinks about this bill before formally offering the amendment.

As a question, is this bill intended for on-street municipal parking or for private parkings? (generally in builidngs, underground or in empty lots) And is it indended also for parkings that are part of shopping centres and similar facilities or only to dedicated parking facilities?
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contra toda autoridad excepto mi mamá
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2020, 05:20:27 pm »

I'm inclined to support this to help consumers, but Sestak makes some valid points about increasing car usage. I think Rep. tack's proposal could be a good compromise.
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Representative fhtagn
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2020, 12:14:31 am »

This will only make finding parking worse in areas where parking spaces are already scarce.

Operating car parks is an extremely profitable business. So long as you own land and can afford to put tarmac on it, do the admin and employ some wardens; and so long as people are willing to park there, you will make a profit. This bill cuts those profits but it'd still be a profitable business and people will still operate car parks where there is demand for it.

It's an extremely profitable business because of the fees charged. And in many cities, parking lots and garages are not owned by large businesses, so you are harming hardworking people who are just trying to make a living in places that are already hard to do that.

That argument also does nothing to address my point that when parking fees are capped at an extremely low price, you are giving more people the incentive to take their cars, leading to less available spaces.
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Representative Elcaspar
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2020, 04:05:14 am »

Given the information that was given by Sestak, i feel like a compromise might be needed. Rep. tack50 made a compromise that might be workable.
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2020, 03:42:36 pm »

Yeah, I stand in opposition to this bill for very similar reasons to the ones Sestak presented. We should not be incentivizing the use of cars for transportation by making parking easier, but rather the opposite.

If I was drafting an amendment to save the bill I would probably just delete parts a-d of Section III (leaving only the anti-clamping and the clear signage provisions), but I wonder what else thinks about this bill before formally offering the amendment.

I couldn't accept an amendment like this as it removes the teeth of this bill as consumer protection against the vicious profiteering of parking sharks, though of course, it would still be a significant improvement on the current situation.

Where I would be willing to compromise would be removing the cap of parking fees. This is the least pernicious of the abuses by parking sharks and removing this provision would remove the vast majority of the incentive for increased use of cars because parking fees are an ongoing cost of running a car.

I think it would be essential to keep in place the limits on parking fines which are usually the result of accidents on the part of drivers or the operator giving out bogus fines, people shouldn't be charged ridiculous fines for accidentally overstaying a little bit and this is the main moral case behind this bill.

Quote
As a question, is this bill intended for on-street municipal parking or for private parkings? (generally in builidngs, underground or in empty lots) And is it indended also for parkings that are part of shopping centres and similar facilities or only to dedicated parking facilities?

This would affect any parking area.
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Representative Elcaspar
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2020, 03:57:28 pm »

I would support the change of removing the parking fee caps. If it helps get this bill more support, i am all for it.
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Justice Blair
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2020, 10:47:48 am »

I mean the fact that car use has remained so high when parking is a rip-off might devalue the argument that this would somehow cause car use to surge- as someone who doesn't drive & generally thinks more public money & policy should help people not always drive I still support this as a common sense consumer measure and will support it.
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Representative fhtagn
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2020, 12:33:07 pm »

I mean the fact that car use has remained so high when parking is a rip-off might devalue the argument that this would somehow cause car use to surge- as someone who doesn't drive & generally thinks more public money & policy should help people not always drive I still support this as a common sense consumer measure and will support it.

Prices of parking absolutely deter people from choosing to use their cars. To claim otherwise is just ignoring facts.
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Justice Blair
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2020, 12:55:44 pm »

I mean the fact that car use has remained so high when parking is a rip-off might devalue the argument that this would somehow cause car use to surge- as someone who doesn't drive & generally thinks more public money & policy should help people not always drive I still support this as a common sense consumer measure and will support it.

Prices of parking absolutely deter people from choosing to use their cars. To claim otherwise is just ignoring facts.

I'm not denying that.
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2020, 01:59:13 pm »

Where I would be willing to compromise would be removing the cap of parking fees. This is the least pernicious of the abuses by parking sharks and removing this provision would remove the vast majority of the incentive for increased use of cars because parking fees are an ongoing cost of running a car.

I think it would be essential to keep in place the limits on parking fines which are usually the result of accidents on the part of drivers or the operator giving out bogus fines, people shouldn't be charged ridiculous fines for accidentally overstaying a little bit and this is the main moral case behind this bill.

Do any of the members who raised concerns about potential increase in car usage have thoughts about this?
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2020, 10:24:14 am »

Bump
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Speaker Thumb21
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2020, 06:59:12 pm »

Quote
PARKING PROTECTION ACT

To protect Atlasians from extortion by parking sharks

Be it enacted by the Congress of the Republic of Atlasia assembled
Quote
SECTION I: TITLE.
This law shall be referred to as the Parking Protection Act.

SECTION II: FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:

(a) Parking sharks operate parking facilities with the intention of extorting as much money as possible from the general public, often through dishonest means.
(b) Parking facilities are a nessessity for many people, especially those who live in urban areas or don't have a private parking area attached to their place of residence.
(c) Parking operators have a responsibility to make the terms of parking clear.

SECTION III: DEFINITIONS.

(a) Parking is the process of leaving a vehicle in a designated space courtesy of the owner of that space.
(b) A parking fee is a fee levied on behalf of the owner of a parking area in return for permission to park in that area for a given period of time.
(c) The operator refers to the organisation appointed by the owner to manage a parking area.
(d) Unorthorised parking refers to when a vehice is parked in violation of the terms set out by the operator responsibly for the parking space.
(e) Clamping is the application of a clamp to prevent a vehicle from being moved in order to extract money from the driver.

SECTION IV: PROTECTIONS.

(a) Parking fees are hereby capped at $0.75 an hour.
(a) Any charges levied for unauthorised parking are hereby capped at $20 per offense.
(b) A grace period shall be implemented in which drivers cannot be charged for unauthorised parking less than 20 minutes before or after the authorised period.
(c) Parking operators must allow a 2 month period after the driver has been notified to pay charges levied for unauthorised parking before any further action can be taken.
(d) Clamping is hereby banned and treated as property damage.
(e) Parking operators are required by law to provide signage clearly explaining the terms of parking.
(f) Should the terms of parking not be clearly visible to drivers, operators do not posess the right to charge drivers for unauthorised parking.

SECTION V: IMPLEMENTATION.

(a) This act shall take effect on Monday the 5th of October 2020.
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