Sun-powered meters get parking trial
Friday, August 9, 2002
By BEA O'QUINN DEWBERRY
SPRINGFIELD (MA) ó Diana L. D'Agostino popped quarters into the Bridge Street parking meter faithfully 10 times a day.
So, the Mansfield Beauty School instructor said she is thrilled to see an automatic "pay and display" meter installed yesterday.
At least 15 meters opposite the beauty school were replaced yesterday with the single automatic meter, allowing 15 vehicles to be serviced at a time and providing receipts as proof of payment.
Signs will be posted on the old meters directing motorists to place the receipts on the dashboard of vehicles in the front window.
"I think it's a phenomenal idea," D'Agostino said, adding she hoped the new meter's time limit would be increased from two hours to eight or more. "Our students have to leave clients just to put quarters in the meter."
Mayor Michael J. Albano said the city will begin a three-month pilot program on Bridge Street to determine whether the city is interested in keeping it, or installing more.
The solar-powered meters range in price from $7,000 to $15,000, with fancier machines allowing the use of credit and debit cards. The machine uses a wireless communication network that allows the city to monitor its level of use, or to determine problems like a coin jam or paper shortage.
"I like the machines because they offer receipts to customers for proof against ticketing, and as an environmentalist, it's worth the price to have a more attractive environment," Albano said, explaining if purchased the meter's price could possibly be paid from the city's off-street parking budget account.
Gregory S. Parzyck, president of Technical Consulting Services International of Sudbury, said the machines have been used successfully in Europe and Canada for more than 30 years, with some locales seeing a 40 percent increase in revenue.
Among American cities with the machines installed are New York, Seattle and Boston. Northampton uses a similar system.
For communities unable to buy the meters, Parczyk said his firm has established a "revenue sharing" plan providing free installation and maintenance, but taking a percentage of the profit.
Kathleen B. Pellegrino, executive director of the Springfield Parking Authority, said she has installed the machine at the authority's Trolley Park lot, with the intention of installing three more at parking lots on Worthington Street, Apremont Triangle and Morgan Square.
Bea O'Quinn Dewberry can be reached at bdewberry@union- news.com
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08-09-2002, 01:11 PM #1
Sun-powered meters get parking trialIACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
08-09-2002, 02:54 PM #2
Will they come with solar powered meter maids???**************************
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