November 05, 2010

Parking meter kiosks get the boot

Battery powered digital parking meters prove problematic and will be replaced with the conventional mechanical.

Cape May parking meters going back into place after kiosks prove too confusing -

CAPE MAY — The city is returning to traditional parking meters on some streets where a kiosk system had caused confusion and hundreds of parking tickets.
The city was inundated with complaints this past season from people who parked in a space with no meter and then returned to find a $32 parking ticket.
The city still has hundreds of traditional meters — with a coin-eating machine for each parking space — but the city has been slowly expanding its multi-meter system, in which one kiosk collects money for multiple spaces.
City Manager Bruce MacLeod said 40 individual meter heads would be returned to four streets between Beach Avenue and the Washington Street Mall.
MacLeod said part of the problem was the signage that explained the kiosk was not always readily visible.
“That was due to our nice tree-lined streets,” MacLeod said.
The digital meters also proved hard to read, with the glare from the sun during the day and a lack of instrument lighting at night. MacLeod said figuring out how to pay was also confusing. He said the phase-in of the new system began four years ago, and the city hoped tourists would get accustomed to the kiosks, but added “we’ve gone beyond the point” where people would have figured them out.
MacLeod said there are no plans to replace the multi-meter systems on the mall or public parking lots such as Jackson Street, but he said improvements may be added include a paper receipt so motorists know they paid.
“They know they paid for the parking space, and it shows law enforcement they paid,” MacLeod said.
City Council, at a meeting Tuesday, pushed for changes.
“That’s one of the principle problems the tourists have is the parking meters,” Councilman William Murray said.
Members of the public agreed. Lafayette Street’s Dennis Crowley called meters the most annoying thing in Cape May.
“We need a comprehensive solution, and we need it now,” Crowley said.
The new high-tech meter systems have also been criticized in other parts of the country due to confusion on how to pay, credit card fees the host city must pay and the expensive batteries they use. Traditional meters are mechanical.
In related business, the city announced it will install a number of handicapped parking spaces along the south side of Beach Avenue to accommodate new handicapped-accessible beaches.
The city settled a lawsuit over its lack of handicapped access on the beachfront in 2004. Since then, it has used state grants to create several handicapped-accessible beaches but the grants required adding handicapped parking spaces.
The spaces will be marked with signs, and the city may even remove the parking meters. MacLeod said if the meters remain, the handicapped are required to put in one quarter to initiate the meter but then can let it expire without getting ticketed. Deputy Mayor Jack Wichterman suggested being “tourist friendly” and taking the meters out.
The new Beach Avenue spaces will include five near the Third Avenue Pavilion, three at Wilmington Avenue and one each at Broadway, Grant, Perry, Decatur, Ocean, Gurney, Howard and Jefferson streets, and Stockton, Madison, Philadelphia, Trenton and Pittsburgh avenues. There would also be one space added at Mount Vernon and two added on Delaware Avenue for the Corinthian Yacht Club.
Contact Richard Degener:
[email protected]

Cape May parking meters going back into place after kiosks prove too confusing -

Posted by staff at November 5, 2010 11:08 AM