Fewer parking tickets have been issued since new pay-by-space credit card stations replaced the coin meters at the College Park Shopping Center a month and a half ago, according to Jim Miller, the city's parking enforcement manager.
Miller said he’s also noticed more people are paying for parking, though it’s still too early to have data to support either assessment.
This is good news, Miller said, because he said an effective parking program in his mind leads to more compliance rather than more tickets.
The 13 new parking stations, costing about $18,000 a piece, were installed for customer convenience, according to city staff.
The stations run either on solar or electric power. The incoming electricity charges an internal battery that can last up to a week without a charge.
“If we were to have a weeklong solar eclipse or power outage, we’d still be in business,” Miller said.
The batteries are usually good for seven to 10 years without replacement.
The pay stations allow meter maids to do their jobs more effectively, Miller said. Parking enforcement officers carry a handheld device indicating which parking spaces have run out of time.
The officers only have to check the spot to see if an offending car is parked there. Miller said this is a big help to the parking enforcement staff, because it is made up of only six officers, one of them being part time.
How to Pay
The meters are the same as the ones in the City Hall lot and the College Park parking garage, both on Knox Road. Patch created a video in November, demonstrating how to use them.
Patrons simply type their parking space number into the machine, insert payment and collect a receipt. The receipt does not need to be displayed in the window and only serves as a reminder of the expiration time.
The stations also take bills and coins, and time can be added to a parking space from any station.
Patrons of the parking lots will notice a small paying difference. The minimum amount a parker can pay is 25 cents for 20 minutes of parking. Credit card users are forced to pay a 75-cent minimum for an hour of parking since the city must pay a 25-cent fee for every credit card transaction.
Reaction to the parking meters has been mixed. “There is always a learning curve,” Miller said.
Lou Witmer said he preferred the old coin meters. “I like them when [the meters] are right near your car,” he said.
“It doesn’t make much of a difference to me. The first time was hard, but I got used to it,” Ellie Miskobic, another College Park Shopping Center patron said.