Are you ready to pay for your parking with a smart phone?
City officials believe that's the future. They're testing and about to deploy eventually a couple hundred new-styled parking meters that allow payments via apps (or through near-field communication, for those with NFC-enabled devices).
The story explaining the plan ran on Monday in the Spokesman Review (spokesman.com).
The city's already paid about $600 for each new parking meter that can handle this type of transaction; they still take coins and credit cards, of course.
They'll be adding space-sensitive sensors later next year, allowing for more specific tracking of open parking for drivers. That will add another $350 or so to the cost of the meters.
Will this pay for itself? Well, it's already doing the city a lot of good, according to Dave Steele, of the city's parking system. Credit card payments so far have pushed parking revenue in the downtown area up by more than $5,000 per WEEK compared with a year ago, he said.
The city is watching to see where people most use the newer meters. This map gives a recent snapshot of how busy some meters are, and which parts of town don't see that much activity. Green means the meter is generally used often. Yellow means sort of busy. Red means not paying for itself yet.