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High teck parking meters

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A change in parking meters as Stamford goes high tech
By Mark Ginocchio
Staff Writer

Published October 24 2005

STAMFORD -- Parking in Stamford is about to get brainy.

Tomorrow, the city will install its first three state-of-the-art "Smart Meters" in the surface parking lot on Bedford Street.

Officials say the "Smart Meter" kiosks are more convenient for users and better for the city's bookkeeping.

"This is innovation put into action," said Frank Fedeli, supervisor of the Citizens Service Center. "This is part of a first step to modernize some of the city's parking meters."

Once they're functioning, the meters will accept cash, coins and credit and debit cards. They are connected to a network that will make it easier for city officials to track revenue and monitor maintenance from the government center, Fedeli said.

The three Bedford Street meters are part of a pilot program before the city determines how many to install, he said. Initially, the meters will not be able to read credit cards, but as the kinks are worked out -- it should take about three months -- they should be able to accept plastic, he said.

Ernie Orgera, supervisor of traffic maintenance, encouraged the city to try the meters after some research, Fedeli said.

Each unit cost about $11,000, said Tim Curtin, director of the Office of Operations.

Eventually, the city plans to install new meters at main parking venues downtown, Fedeli said. Once that's accomplished, shoppers will be able to refill their parking time from any other kiosk in the city, he said.

"You won't have people running out to feed the meters any more," Fedeli said. "You could park on Bedford Street and purchase additional time at the Bell Street garage."

Business leaders like the idea.

"This is great that it's happening now and it should prove to be very convenient for consumers," said Jack Condlin, president of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce.

Giving customers the option of using cash or credit cards will make parking easier, he said.

"To me, it's a win, win, win, win, win situation," Condlin said.

Sandra Goldstein, executive director of the Downtown Special Services District, said she's reserving judgment.

"It seems that they are a step ahead, but until I actually see it in practice, and get feedback from patrons, the jury is still out," she said.

Other towns in lower Fairfield County are looking to modernize parking meters, too. Allen Cory, head of parking services in Greenwich, said the town's mechanical meters are antiquated and he would like to install electronic kiosks that accept credit cards.
The thing I particularly like is the idea of being able to get more time from anywhere in the city. This seams like a move to make public transportation, and walking around the city more attractive. You no longer have to worry about leaving your car in one place too long, if it’s getting close to your time expiring, just go to any point in the city and pay for more parking time.

The other thing I would like to see more of is the use of ezpass for parking too. I don’t think CT will really do much with that simply because CT does not charge any toll. Even so a large number of CT residents have ezpass for traveling into all the other states in the north east.

And as for all you people that live in a part of the US where free parking is customary,
to you!

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cool except the fact that parking costs so much you might as well just park in a lot and pay like $6 for the day or whatever it is instead of 25c for 15min
You would need to stay for 6 hours to spend $6 on a $.25/15min meter. If you don't need to stay that long, it is not cost-effective to pay for a space in a parking lot.
You do realize its "high tech" as in technology right?

And $11K a unit... wtf? Right now there is one cheapo mechanical unit per parking space, and it trips a flag so authorities know whether or not you paid. So is there going to be one kiosk per X-amount of spaces and you have to walk over to it, and how do you easily monitor who paid or not when driving past the parking spots.

They aren't putting one per space are they? That'd be over half a mil every fifty cars. At that point they could just put the money together for a friggen big(ger) parking garage every couple blocks w/ a single kiosk to pay on your way out. They got some 'splainin to do.
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Wow... you guys don't get out much... do you?

These units are great on a number of levels. 1.) They eliminate individual working units at each space. You note your space number, go over to the unit, enter the number, pay your fee, get a receipt and you're on your way. Short term investment is high, long term its low. individual meters need to be replaced all the time, and are higher in threat to be vandalized and/or stolen.

2.) They make the parking patrol's job more efficient. They walk over to it, check which spaces shouldn't be occupied... and head directly to the offending spaces. There are units with built in loops that will tell you which spaces are offending right then and there. This will help reduce the costs, by reducing salaries... not as many parking cops anymore.

3.) Convenience for the consumer... the kiosks take bills and/or credit cards. What meters do that?
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yeah, its the same concept as the "take your ticket, pay on foot" parking garages...take that and mix it with the "put your money in the box in your numbered slot" parking lots of old...

its been around for awhile around here, in detroit and chicago. in a few lots in chicago, there are no people at the gate, you HAVE to use the machine.
they've already got these in parts of seattle.
They need to implement such a system in New York City...FAST.
If the parking were free (see tax coffers for funds) they wouldn't need $11k/ea parking meters with highly paid people monitoring them.

So now your already expensive parking just went up.....greeeeat.
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they already have lots of the kiosks at the lots but these are gonna be on the side of the street. downtown stamford is pretty big you can easily spend a whole day down there. so you're better off parking in a garage paying 6$ for the day if you're gonna be gettign there around noon rather than look for a spot on the street for hours and worry about how much time you paid. this is supposed to help but still if your iin a store you're stil gonna have to leave to put extra time in a meter even it you're going to a closer pay station.

oh but if you park in the mall you get 3hrs for 50c but the downside is they close their garage about an hour after the mall closes at like 8 so if you're out to dinner or a movie you're car is locked inside for the night
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I've only seen one of these at a court house I went to for a speeding ticket in Marlboro MD (I think.) It was way better than the quarter machines. There's one unit per garage, or convenient walking distance. Parking IS more expensive, but still less expensive then per dium.

Oh... and I'll have to find a picture of the statue in the courtyard. When you walk out of the court-house you're looking right at three bigger than life horses' asses, anatomically correct, w/balls & all. Think my f'n X has the pictures of it though. Damn!
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