I was trying to tell y’all in an earlier blog post to look out for a parking takeover in the city of Chester back on November 28 which no one paid any attention to. But when the Delaware County Daily Times did the front page story on January 4th, now everyone is shaking their heads.

The city entered into a $1 million agreement with PFS in September 2018 to install and manage kiosks, meters, lighting, security cameras and collection activities for some 1,500 meters across the city

I’m not sure what the $1 million agreement means but it sounds like the City is paying these people a million dollars to install some fancy pay-for-parking infrastructure with lights and cameras and for them to collect the parking money, too.

It appears the streets on and around the Widener University campus is ground zero to launch this new parking meter project. Poles have already been plowed into the sidewalks to support the new meters. The bigwigs at Widener have gone directly to their lawyers and filed suit against the city of Chester. Their lawyer says…

I’ve represented Widener for 38 years and I’ve never seen anything as intrusive, improper, inappropriate and as obnoxious as this plan that the city has rolled out.

He wasn’t even this mad at the Chester Stormwater Authority bill Widener got.

Apparently, Widener prides itself on free parking. When the 1,200 meters show up, they’ll have to pay $2 an hour. You can get a nice discount if you pay a month in advance where it’s only $1,080 versus $1,440 at the $2/hour rate.

parking enforcement is scheduled to commence Jan. 14, the same day Widener students arrive to begin the spring semester

Widener is mostly a commuter school and they believe everyone will transfer to a new college because of the new parking fees. But, even if only a few students transfer, it’s going to be devastating. They put it this way…

Widener notes 4,100 of the 5,600 undergraduate and graduate students attending classes are commuters, many of which rely on street parking. If the university were to lose revenue from those commuter students, it warns, it may have to reduce staff, scholarships and “substantial financial support” that it provides to the Chester community. Should Widener lose its commuter enrollment and, estimating a 20 percent loss of resident enrollment, the lost annual revenue to Widener would be a staggering $30,600,000, or 20 percent of the university’s annual revenue,” according to the complaint.

According to that prediction, the city of Chester could really mess up Widener’s money over a $2/hr parking spot. I’m sure some smart people at City Hall figured out that this was a good idea and the concept is probably justifiable.

My math says that 1,200 meters X 8 hours a day X $2/hour X 5 days a week X 4 weeks a month = $384,000 of revenue per month to the city of Chester. That means the city can realize a return on investment before Widener’s graduation in the Spring.

We’ll have to wait and see what the judge has to say about all this.