Harvey Figueroa Discusses Remote Parking Enforcement in Hallandale Beach

Harvey Figueroa on Transforming Hallandale Beach Parking Enforcement with gtechna's Ticket-by-Mail System
June 7, 2024
Harvey Figueroa Discusses Remote Parking Enforcement in Hallandale Beach

Harvey Figueroa eats, breathes, and sleeps parking.  As the Parking Services Supervisor in Hallandale Beach, he shares why his department has opted for gtechna's Ticket-by-Mail remote enforcement system and how this upgrade can improve city life and increase parking revenue.

"We're going to pleasantly surprise executive management, commissioners, and our mayor."

Why is Hallandale Beach planning to use Ticket-by-Mail for remote enforcement?

We were missing out on the real value of the city's top parking revenue generators: the South City Beach parking lot (119 spaces) and the North City Beach parking garage (47 spaces). Our parking enforcement was like a “cat-and-mouse” game. Officers would issue citations at these locations and then leave to cover other parts of the city. By the time they returned, numerous cars had come and gone without being monitored.
We enforce parking with the staff we have, not the staff we wish we had. Ideally, we'd have an army of parking enforcement specialists to cover our 4.5 square miles every day, but that's not our reality. 
We want to adjust our current approach and repurpose our resources. Remote enforcement will allow us to capitalize on every space, every second of every day. Instead of outsourcing this function, we decided to implement gtechna's Ticket-by-Mail system. This way, we bring remote parking enforcement in-house and reassign tasks to our existing personnel. It puts us in complete control of our operation. 

What changes for drivers? 

From the end-user standpoint, the changes will be seamless. Our properties don't have meters, cashiers at the exit lanes, or barrier gates. Drivers pay for parking via a mobile app, which will remain the same. The difference now is that if you don't pay, you won't be able to exploit the system by avoiding enforcement. The new system closes the existing loophole.
I'm confident that this change will be highly effective. Typically, I take a conservative approach when forecasting financial outcomes, preferring to exceed expectations. However, I believe this initiative will be a grand slam and exceed all our projections. We're going to pleasantly surprise executive management, commissioners, and our mayor. 

What changes for enforcement personnel? 

We're ready to reposition, realign, and repurpose our parking enforcement staff. Instead of constantly going back and forth between these two major revenue generators, they can now concentrate on other parts of the city with significant quality of life and safety issues.
I've witnessed firsthand situations where individuals in wheelchairs have had to go onto the street to navigate around parked vehicles, children on bikes and skateboards, and kids walking to and from school, facing obstacles created by illegal parking. 
These safety concerns are consistent throughout the city and don't disappear because enforcement personnel must spend time at South City Beach or North City Beach. With Ticket-by-Mail as a permanent parking enforcement solution for the two properties, we can more effectively address all the important issues across the city, like parking against traffic, parking in the 25-foot visibility triangle, blocking fire hydrants, or parking on sidewalks.

"I am confident, comfortable, and completely behind this remote enforcement."

What legal guidelines will you follow to implement remote enforcement?

Regarding parking regulations, the Florida statute allows municipalities to determine rates, processes, structure, and signage as long as we act in the city's best interest. For these specific off-street properties, we've decided to use license plate recognition technology, dedicated software, and remote enforcing to maximize revenue and ensure proper use of our assets. I am confident, comfortable, and completely behind this remote enforcement as the best solution for Hallandale Beach. 
To facilitate this, we're introducing new language in our city code to define our approach. We'll meet with the legal team in June to ensure full compliance with legal requirements.

Can you outline the step-by-step process for amending the city code?

Parking enforcement in Hallandale Beach operates as a unit within the police department. My reporting line goes from a captain to a deputy chief, then to the chief of police, and ultimately to the city manager. Therefore, any proposed changes must navigate this multi-tier process.
As the parking supervisor, my responsibility is to analyze and review our processes and protocols. I focus on the who, what, when, where, why, and how to optimize every aspect of our enforcement strategy. This way, I can make informed recommendations to benefit the entire community. 
Once our internal review is complete, the proposal will be moved to the legal department for further scrutiny. 

How essential is backing from city management for this initiative? 

Hallandale's parking program is new, but it has the full support of the Mayor, City Manager, and City Commission. We all recognize the importance of maximizing the city's assets and enforcing parking regulations. 
Having this level of backing is vital for the program's success. It demonstrates a unified commitment to improving our city's infrastructure and services. With strong leadership and clear directives, we can efficiently implement the program and achieve our goals—increase revenue and guarantee fair use of the city's parking facilities.

"The Ticket-by-Mail system for remote enforcement follows a structured process."

How will you migrate to a remote enforcement system?

We plan to approach this like a soft opening. As we introduce the remote enforcement system, we'll begin by sending out notices of violations as warnings. We'll also put signage and banners at the parking lots to inform drivers about the change. 
Moving from the soft opening to full implementation will be challenging, but I foresee no major obstacles. Our primary focus will be fine-tuning our back-office processes, adjusting timelines, and ensuring we accurately gather information from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to identify vehicle owners.

How does the Ticket-by-Mail system work?

The Ticket-by-Mail system for remote enforcement follows a structured process because everything must adhere to established legal frameworks and city protocols. The ticket also comes with evidence (photographs) that clearly shows why a vehicle is in violation. This level of transparency helps drivers understand their infractions, reduces disputes, and encourages compliance.
This technological advancement will bring Hallandale Beach into the 21st century, opening new horizons for our parking enforcement operations. I'm thrilled for our team and the city because this innovation marks a significant step forward. The groundwork has been laid by a dedicated team, and now we are ready to improve our services and eventually expand across the entire city.

What steps are you taking to inform drivers about the change?

We use the city's website, Facebook page, and other social media outlets. We also introduced a 'Friday Fun Fact' series. We share social media reminders about parking regulations, such as not parking on sidewalks or without a license plate. These fun facts help keep the community informed and aware of the rules.
The challenge often lies with visitors. To address this, we use signage and banners in parking lots and partner with our mobile app providers. 
We aim to encourage compliance through education and transparent communication rather than relying on punitive measures. We're not out to catch people off guard. We do our best to provide all the necessary information upfront to help everyone follow the rules.

"We aim to be the catalyst and pioneer for this remote enforcement initiative."

How will the Ticket-by-Mail system benefit the city in the long run?

I've always believed that the role of a parking enforcement specialist should be more about behavior change—we aim to change habits and inform residents about what is acceptable and what isn't. Our goal is to reach a point where the number of citations drops because people comply with parking regulations.
We see it daily: individuals come to the lobby with numerous citations. I genuinely feel for them and advise them that they're wasting money on avoidable infractions. Citations serve as a reminder. If ignored, they escalate to late fees, collection notices, and eventually, vehicle booting. This domino effect reinforces the importance of sticking to the rules. Ultimately, our approach encourages better compliance through consistent reminders and consequences.

How will the Ticket-by-Mail system transform parking enforcement?

Once we demonstrate that the Ticket-by-Mail system works at the two off-street properties near the beach, we plan to expand it to other locations within the city. I am excited for Hallandale Beach because we are on the brink of something significant. 
I'm confident we will succeed. We aim to be the catalyst and pioneer for this remote enforcement initiative, a model for other cities in the state and nationwide interested in implementing similar systems. 

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