Parking “Ambassadors” will help downtown Chattanooga in a variety of ways:
Parking ambassadors will provide assistance to downtown visitors. They will carry maps (including a parking map) of the area. They will be knowledgeable of the area in order to give directions to major destinations. They will carry handouts listing local events. They will carry courtesy garage parking passes to hand out as a gesture of good will when perhaps a visitor appears to have had a difficult experience with the parking program. With the introduction of new multi-space pay stations and credit card acceptable on-street meters, parking ambassadors will help parkers understand this new technology when initially implemented. Parking ambassadors are dressed in bright, easily-recognizable uniforms to increase their visibility and enable downtown visitors to easily find an ambassador if needed.
In addition to the extra visibility the ambassadors provide, they carry cell phones and can contact the police to report potential problems. Ambassadors on regular walking routes will develop working relationships with police officers and office and storefront personnel in their patrol area, as well as know when something is amiss.
Parking ambassadors will issue parking violation citations, but can also alert police to other code violations. Most citations are issued for expired on-street parking meter and time zone violations. The ambassadors will also have the capability to identify scofflaws – parkers who have multiple outstanding unpaid violations – so their vehicles can either be towed or immobilized.
When they see litter on the sidewalks, ambassadors will pick it up to help keep our downtown clean.
As they travel their route, ambassadors will check the on-street parking meters to ensure operability. This is especially critical where pay stations and advance technology on-street meters are located. The ambassadors will check each on-street meter to make sure it is not jammed, battery dead, or otherwise malfunctioning. A malfunctioning meter is then reported to the parking office, which can immediately dispatch a repair technician. Close coordination between enforcement and meter repair is crucial to keep the system running at maximum efficiency. If the on-street parking meters are not working properly they are not achieving their economic development objective of turning over parking. It also helps minimize customer frustration from malfunctioning meters.