Parking to the future
New parking kiosk at city lot
The city has taken a first step into modern paid parking.
People parking at the city-owned lot west of city hall will pay at a computerized kiosk, as opposed to a parking meter. Manager of transit and fleet for the city Mark Sture believes the new technology will improve efficiency.
“It’s an easier way of providing for parking within the lot,” he said.
The new system was supposed to be up and going by Friday morning, but a timeclock issue prevented it from going online as planned. The city said the new system would be up and running by Monday.
The reason for installing the pay station goes beyond bringing in new technology. According to Sture, the kiosk cost a total of $15,000 to buy and install.
On the other hand, installing individual meters at the lot with the ability to take credit cards would have cost $80,000. Right now, people can pay at some of the city’s parking meters with a pre-paid card that they can pick up at city hall. The new system will also allow people to pay to park for a maximum five hours instead of the usual two hours. But those who are looking to pay by credit card at the new pay station will have to wait to do so until sometime in the new year.
“At this point we’re only accepting coin, we still need to get some of the back-end stuff done so we can accept the credit cards,” Sture said.
The kiosk has the ability to accept credit cards, but the city needs to do some work on their end. People will also have to wait before seeing this system brought in to replace meters for street parking.
“We want to get this first machine up and running, then we are looking at expanding to other parking lots in the city, where we currently have parking meters,” Sture said.
For those who may be concerned about potential security issues, Sture said they are confident in the security of the machine. The technology is not new and has been proven in many other cities.
Besides making it easier for residents to pay for parking, the city is also hoping the new system will make it easier for the people charged with enforcement; motorists will be asked to punch in their licence plate number. They will then get a receipt, which should be put on the dashboard of their vehicle so that parking enforcement officers can see it. In the future though, this may not be necessary.
“In the future there won’t be need for that because the information in the parking pay station will go directly to the enforcement officers … through their electronic devices,” he said.
Overall, Sture believes the decision to bring in this new system is a good one.
“It’s a positive step forward for the commuting public,” he said.