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Metro Newsroom

New High-Tech Parking Meters Easier to Use

Thursday May 1, 2003

Louisville has begun the process of replacing old, mechanical parking meters with electronic meters that are easier to use and maintain, Mayor Jerry Abramson said today.

Abramson said that the replacement process has begun with the installation of 25 electronic meters on a test block of streets -- Jefferson Street between Fifth and Sixth streets and on Fifth and Sixth streets from Jefferson to Congress Alley.

“Our existing parking meters throughout the city are more than 20 years old and simply can’t be replaced any longer,” Abramson said. “The new meters are easier to use, easier to maintain, provide better service and potentially will produce more revenue as a result.”

The old meters are no longer manufactured and there is only one manufacturer willing to sell refurbished mechanical meters, Abramson said. And that manufacturer has announced that it is discontinuing the practice because of the high cost.

The new meters cost $420 each and are being paid for from existing Parking Authority of River City (PARC) funds. Meter rates are not being raised to pay for the new meters. PARC intends to conduct a review of all rate structures and meter locations, neither of which has been reviewed in 10 years.
The new meters have solid-state circuitry, quartz timing and high visibility displays that are user friendly. The meters also have decorative sleeves to conceal the meter poles and better complement the streetscape.
They also have a “smart card” capability in which a card can be programmed with a defined dollar amount and then inserted to the meter for the time allotted. The card’s value can be replenished once the dollar value is depleted. The “smart card” technology is in the process of being installed and will be tested prior to public sale.

Abramson said PARC officials spoke with several other cities, which reported better service from the electronic meters and an increase in revenue. The old meters frequently jam or malfunction, leading to lost revenue. The new meters, in addition to being easier to maintain and repair, also will have software that will allow officials to audit its frequency of use and revenue generated.

PARC Executive Administrator Cathy Duncan said an exact timetable has not been set for installing the new meters citywide, but it is a priority to replace the old ones that are in poor condition and can’t be replaced.