Parking Marketplace FAQs
What is this Parking Marketplace anyway?
With increased demand for parking in Downtown San Marcos and the launch of enhanced enforcement of time-limits via License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology, the Downtown Association (DTA) recognizes an opportunity to unlock private OFF-street parking spaces that are vacant or underutilized to provide a solution for those in need of parking.
The DTA has partnered with PARQEX to create a local, online marketplace where private, OFF-street parking spaces can be listed and rented in a matter of minutes via the web or an Android or iPhone app. While the online marketplace allows for daily, weekly, or even hourly parking, the current focus of the marketplace is to provide parking on a monthly basis for known users in need such as downtown employers and individuals requiring longer than the allowable two-hour time limit for ON-street parking downtown.
For more information, read on where we've outlined a number of additional questions below divided into three sections. Still have questions? Email us here.
- Has Downtown Parking demand increased?
- Did the City change the way it enforces ON-street parking time limits?
- Is the increased enforcement creating new demand for OFF-street parking for Employees and other users?
- Aren’t there many vacant OFF-street parking spaces?
- Can we “unlock” these underused spaces to help increase supply?
- Can you explain what PARQEX is?
- I prefer not to list or rent online. Are there other another options?
- Are there more changes coming to ON-street parking downtown?
FOR PARKING renters
- I need to reserve parking ASAP, can you tell me where to go?
- My employer isn’t providing me a place to park, are there any free parking options for more than 2-hours?
FOR parking owners
- If my spaces are only available during certain hours or certain days can I still list on PARQEX?
- What about secure spaces in gated lots or garages? Can PARQEX handle those?
- My lot is monitored by a tow company. Can I still use PARQEX?
- If I decide to do something else with my property, can I stop leasing easily?
- Can I restrict who leases my spaces on PARQEX?
- Should I mark my parking spaces? Are there resources to help me?
- Okay, I’m ready to list on PARQEX. Is there a tutorial or something?
- I still have questions about PARQEX. Are there more resources and support?
- I have a large lot that could accommodate a lot of spaces (i.e., more than 15 spaces). Are there more options for me?
- I’ve listed my spaces but no one has leased. Is the DTA going to help get the word out?
YES. Downtown San Marcos is as bustling and vibrant as ever. With steady increases in students, residents, employees and tourists to the town center, Downtown’s vibrancy has increased demand for the limited on-street public parking spaces. For decades, the City’s enforcement of ON-street parking time limits has been lax, demand has been unregulated, and parking that should be available for downtown properties is frequently abused by non-customers such as those commuting to campus without patronizing businesses.
YES. For the past several decades, the City’s enforcement of its time limits has been relatively ineffective as they relied on a manual process of hand-chalking tires and walking around to issue tickets. This spring, the City of San Marcos launched an automated License Plate Recognition (LPR) program and a blanket 2-hour parking limit to enhance enforcement of parking offenses. LPR has the added benefit of allowing the City to collect very detailed data regarding the utilization of ON-street parking on each block. You can learn more about how LPR works here.
YES. One consequence of improved enforcement is that parkers that have historically relied upon ON-street spaces for multi-hour parking are no longer able to do so without being heavily ticketed. One particular group of affected parkers are Downtown Employees that live outside the downtown. Employers now need to find alternatives, which is creating new demand for OFF-street parking.
YES! Today, the DTA estimates there are as many as 3,000 non-residential, off-street parking spaces in Downtown (and more than 4,000 in total). While many spaces are well-used at all times of day by the property or business that owns them, many spaces are also frequently vacant or unused for long periods of time. While there are a few large lots, many properties just have a few spaces and may have never considered the possibility of leasing these underused spaces. And, historically, it’s been difficult to identify and manage renters for just a few spaces here and there.
YES! It’s 2018 and there have been many advances in technology that make managing parking easier than ever. One such way is through online marketplaces where owners of excess spaces can list those spaces and renters in need can rent them. PARQEX is one such company and has partnered with the DTA. To encourage participation, PARQEX is providing a special promotion to San Marcos users that provides a $15 value when you sign up at www.parqex.com/san-marcos-parking
YES! PARQEX is a website and mobile app that increases the available supply of parking to the public using existing resources and provides solutions to property owners to help them maximize the value of their parking assets. One of their key offerings, the PARQEX Marketplace, connects owners of private parking spots to people looking for parking. Their Marketplace works much like home-sharing (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO), but for parking spaces. With PARQEX, owners list their parking spaces online, and renters can then search and reserve spaces by the hour, day, week, or as a monthly subscription. PARQEX coordinates the reservations, processes payments, and pays property owners 85% of the listing price. Renters are charged just $1 per reservation, even if that reservation is for a whole month.
YES! While PARQEX is the most visible place to list a space and the easiest way to rent, you may also email your parking availability or need to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Downtown Association will maintain a separate list of owners with parking available and renters looking for parking. When a match appears, we’ll contact both parties to put them in touch. If you prefer not to email, you may also visit the Main Street office at 317 N LBJ Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666 to register your space or need. However you feel most comfortable, thanks for being a part of the downtown parking marketplace!
YES. This summer, the City also approved a Parking Management Plan that aims to manage demand for ON-street parking with a goal of ensuring there are always a few spaces available on each block. This will likely be accomplished through the introduction of some level of paid ON-street parking which will provide more flexibility on parking time beyond 2-hours and generate revenue to be reinvested into improvements and infrastructure that will benefit Downtown businesses, residents, and property owners. The DTA Parking subcommittee is actively engaged with City staff in this process and currently expects public meetings regarding the PMP later in 2018 and on the ground changes in 2019. For more information as it comes available, visit the City’s website: http://sanmarcostx.gov/680/Parking. A special section on License Plate Recognition enforcement already exist and contacts contact information for City staff: https://www.sanmarcostx.gov/1547/License-Plate-Recognition
FOR PARKING RENTERS
YES! Simply visit www.parqex.com/san-marcos-parking, create an account, claim your $15 credit, and search for parking. Alternatively, you can also email the DTA with your need here and we’ll let you know if we have any offline matches for you. Finally, you can also visit the Main Street office in person at 317 N LBJ Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666 and ask them to log your need with us.
Yes. The City of San Marcos has agreed that users can park at the old City Amory just past the Public Library on Hopkins. If you are not comfortable walking to your destination, there is a CARTS Municipal Bus stop on Hopkins and Routes #1, #2, and #3 all service this stop and the Downtown during weekdays from 7AM to 8PM. View routes and schedule at http://myride.smtxthebus.com or click here for the specific Stop Times.
FOR PARKING OWNERS
YES! PARQEX has Advanced Scheduling that allows owners to list spaces only certain hours of each day or only certain days of the week. Listing your spaces via the website (instead of the App) may be easier for owners wanting to use the Advanced Scheduling features.
YES! PARQEX Access+ is a unique technology that allows approved users the ability to open gates and doors directly through the PARQEX mobile app with their smartphone. Renters are only able to do so for the duration of their paid reservation, and you don’t need to deal with any hassles with clickers, fobs, or codes. To learn more about how Access+ works and how to get it installed at your property, contact email@example.com or call (855) PARQEX-1 for more info.
YES! PARQEX Enforcer is a tool that allows owners to provide their towing vendor real-time information on what license plate(s) are authorized to park in what spaces. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (855) PARQEX-1 for help getting set up.
YES! There are no long-term commitments when using PARQEX. As an owner, if your plans for the property change, you can transition your property out of the marketplace in a month or less, depending on how you’ve listed your spaces.
YES! If you have an agreement with a particular business or group of individuals for exclusive access to your spaces, you can mark your spaces as Private and restrict reservation capability only to users with specific email addresses.
YES and YES! The most effective parking spaces have some kind of identifying marker to help users find their spot. The DTA is working on preparing some supportive resources. Check back here soon or email us to be notified once they are ready.
YES! PARQEX even has a video to help orient you here: https://www.parqex.com/how-to-list-a-spot/
(Note: the video does not currently cover Advanced Scheduling.)
If you have a fully vacant parking lot, you may also want to also consider a traditional parking leasing partner. Hospitality Parking manages two lots in downtown San Marcos and would be pleased to discuss options for your property, as well. Their local manager Jeff Girgenti can be reached at (512) 965-7330 or via email at email@example.com. Other parking managers such as LAZ parking (lazparking.com) and Standard Parking (spplus.com) also offer leasing services.
YES! The DTA Parking Subcommittee will be sending marketing materials to potential renters (downtown businesses, employers, and other parking users) late this Summer and/or early this Fall. We appreciate you considering listing your spaces as soon as possible so that your spaces are a part of the marketplace once we start this promotional effort to potential users.