Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, Councilman Bob Coffin and downtown businessman Sam Cherry will make the first transaction at a new multi-bay parking meter at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4. The first of approximately 233 new meters will be installed across the street from City Hall on Clark Avenue at First Street.
The new multi-bay meters are easier to use than the outdated coin-only meters they are replacing. The new meters accept credit and debit cards as well as coins. The new meters take the place of 1,216 meters, and approximately 125 single space meters will be permanently removed as part of the changeover. This will result in the removal of the “meter forest” that currently clutters downtown sidewalks.
The new meters are easy to use and 100 percent solar-powered. Users will also be able to print receipts and add time to the meter. In the coming months, these more technologically advanced meters will allow residents and visitors to use ParkMe, a mobile device app that shows where on-street parking is available in real time. Also, new signage will ensure customers can easily get the information they need to pay for parking.
The initial contract with Parkeon, a company that provides parking management devices for more than three million parking spaces in more than 3,000 cities and 50 countries, is $1.45 million. Funding for the contract comes from the Parking Enterprise Fund, which is separate from the general fund. Parkeon was chosen through a competitive bid process.
Upgrading parking technology is the second phase of a long-term parking plan that is being undertaken by the city with the goals of providing excellent customer service; making parking easy to use; improving financial performance; supporting existing businesses by tailoring parking options for customers, employees and residents; and supporting new development by examining shared parking options, and creating flexibility for special events.
Last year, the city created a “one-stop-shop” for parking services under the Economic and Urban Development Department to make it easier for customers to navigate the system. The new Parking Services office is now open in the City Hall parking garage at 500 S. Main St.