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Metro Newsroom

New Smart Cards Will Make Parking Easier

Wednesday August 18, 2004

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today that the “smart cards” that residents will use to purchase time on the new, more advanced and user-friendly parking meters will go on sale to the general public on September 1.

“This new technology will provide a more efficient, effective and easier way to park downtown,” Abramson said. “It also will allow the city to collect significantly more parking revenue, which has declined significantly over the last several years.”

Smart cards, which operate similar to debit cards, can be programmed with a monetary value, and allow a user to operate a parking meter without any coins. The meters accept the smart cards, and also nickels, dimes, quarters, and the gold dollar coins. Eventually, the cards also will be accepted in all PARC parking garages.

As of right now, there are 250 smart meters in the downtown area, which translates to roughly 400 parking spaces. Over the next year, 50 will be installed per week, resulting in a total of more than 2,000 smart meters installed throughout Louisville.

Because the meters effectively monitor two spaces, the number of meters will be cut almost in half from the currently installed 4,800 parking meters.

Some of the current parking meters are 20 years old, and there are not parts to replace them. Metro government collected about $1.5 million in meter revenue last fiscal year, about $200,000 less than the year before, due in large part to malfunctioning meters.

The new smart meters are expected to increase parking revenue by as much as 30 percent and provide better service.

Smart cards will be available at the PARC office, located at 517 S. 4th Street, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. An individual can simply tell PARC staff how much money they want to put on the card, pay them, and the smart card will be programmed at that time.

The user will dictate how much money will be expended on the meter, and if they return to their car more quickly than planned, the user can put the card back in the meter and get that money credited back to their account.

Depending upon demand, PARC officials also are considering placing smart card machines in select parking garages throughout downtown for added convenience.