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September 5, 2012

Downtown Parking Getting Smart Improvements

The City is working on a number of parking improvements in the heart of our downtown following recommendations from a City/BID sponsored report that was prepared earlier this year. The goal is to make parking downtown increasingly convenient and attractive for customers, residents and business employees.

Meter_Story_561_inside_WEB.jpgThe City is introducing IPS Smart meters at fifty on-street locations downtown. These solar battery powered meters can securely take debit/credit cards as well as coins making it easier for customers to park and not have to worry about carrying a pocketful of quarters. The selection of these meters follows extensive interviews with parking meter vendors and a test during the summer of their operation. In coming years the City expects to increase the number of Smart meters downtown.

Check out this video to see how to use them. Note: Our parking rates are $1.00 per hour not the $2.00 shown in the video.

Louis Vaccaro, Co-Owner of the Curtain Shop and a Co-Chairperson of the BID Retail Advisory Committee stated:  "Convenient parking is big factor when potential clients are deciding whether to come to our downtown or not.  Making it easier for them, by accepting credit cards, is a good thing for everyone"

On street parking has been expanded, replacing no parking zones with new meter locations on Memorial Highway, Main Street, and Harrison Street. Creating these new locations was in response to requests from downtown businesses and patrons. In addition the hours for parking on street have been extended in the evening from two hours during the day prior to 6:00 PM to three hours after 6:00 PM to accommodate evening dining in our growing restaurant district.

Based upon the growing popularity of technological savvy pay stations that can accept coins and debit/credit cards, a system which has been well received and utilized in the Prospect Street, Avalon and the Library South Parking, additional pay stations are now also being installed in the Library Lot.

Commissioner of Development Michael Freimuth whose department has been responsible for the many parking improvements downtown noted: “With the installation of smart meters and central pay stations at both Library lots as well as the Avalon garage, the core of the central business district has a much more expansive credit/debit card inventory of parking options than a year ago. We are hopeful to expand upon this inventory in the upcoming budget year.”

Press_Maple-Ave-lot.jpgThe Maple Avenue Parking Lot is getting a total make-over, being rebuilt with new lighting, landscaping, drainage and signage. Furthermore, the City has commissioned an engineering study of the Church-Division Street Garage to advance discussions regarding its future.

The City has also improved the management of parking permits. In response to public requests for more flexile permits the City has created overnight and daytime parking permits which are more affordable than the twenty-four hour permits that were the only option for night time residential and day time employee parkers. With the improved management system, the City is also addressing the waiting list for permit parkers.

Currently downtown, the City is significantly reducing the waiting list for those wanting permits.  In addition permit holders can obtain or renew their permits online and the public can more easily obtain information on parking at the City’s website.

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