Decatur Set To Make Serious Upgrades to Parking Meters

Another item on the agenda for tonight’s Decatur City Commission meeting – new parking meters!

Here are the details of the planned upgrade in a letter from Asst. City Manager Lyn Menne to the Commission…

[The parking management company has] developed a plan that uses a mix of single space and multi-space meter equipment that will utilize license plate recognition rather than a”pay and display”receipt option. Customer scan pay using credit, debit and smart card options as well as coins and have the option to set up prepaid accounts on-line tied to their cell phone. All of the on-street meter equipment is solar-powered.

In addition to the meter equipment, we will purchase upgraded, hand-held ticketing units, improved collection equipment that will enhance the security and tracking of revenue collections and court and collection software that will allow for the integration of citations directly into the court system and provide for more efficient and effective parking fine collections.

The project is now projected to cost $350,000, less than the original estimated cost of $500,000, according to Ms. Menne.

Decaturish also recently had a report on these coming upgrades.

22 thoughts on “Decatur Set To Make Serious Upgrades to Parking Meters”

  1. Hmmm….this wasn’t at all what I was expecting based upon the title. Where are the long-needed plans to charge different rates based upon the time of day and upon actual space utilization? That’s pretty basic technology.

  2. ok it’s monday so I will say it….
    oh great, spending more of our tax dollars so you can give us more tickets and fees. what’s not to love?

  3. You won’t get a ticket if you pay the meter. Plenty of downtown businesses rely on available on-street parking. The businesses don’t own these spaces, so the city creates turnover by charging for the most valuable spaces.

    And the new meters will take credit card payments, which I appreciate since I never carry coins. I imagine the smarter meters will make it easier to adjust the rates. Maybe moving to variable pricing is a long-term goal, but I wouldn’t make that change when installing the new meters. Keep flat rates until the public is comfortable with the new technology, then move on to more dynamic pricing later if it’s warranted.

    1. if the fees are too steep and the tickets given out too freely, it will not help the businesses but drive away customers that see decatur as too hard to park in, too expensive, and too risky for getting a ticket.

      I looked at the power point presentation in the city meeting agenda:
      and it shows an increase in fees of $320K per year. It also has a cute table that shows parking revenue for the current system that totals around $25k to $30 K (quick addition, and not clear if it is on an annual basis or what). $320 K additional is way more, so I wonder just how much they plan to charge and how many more tickets they will give out. Personally I think a quarter for 6 minutes we currently pay is not cheap, and I am not so crazy about swiping my credit card in a robot meter.

      So we will be paying over $300k to a parking company at the expense of taxpayers and business patrons, and indirectly businesses. Not sure how that fits into the strategic plan. We will get some cool meters though. Luckily, I can walk to most of downtown.

    1. The NSA will gladly explain. No need to fill out forms. Your posting is sufficient to get them looking into you.. I mean it.

  4. Please do not purchase whatever meters are used in the City Atlanta. They are reliably unreliable, at least all the ones in midtown. I have seen people break down (or throw fits and scream) after 5+ minutes of not accepting their cash or credit cards.

    1. Just as a matter of curiosity…How does it come about that you are in a position to watch erstwhile parkers try unsuccessfully for 5+ minutes to pay for parking?

  5. Park Atlanta is pure evil. PURE EVIL. I hope we don’t get a private company like that to “help” us recover the cost of parking meters. If someone comes to Decatur to shop and they are 3 minutes late getting back to the car, I don’t want them to have already received a ticket from a “Park Decatur” employee who has been paid to sit on the end of the block with a computer that alerts him the very minute each meter expires.

    1. This. Ask the merchants in midtown, VaHi, L5P, etc… what they think about Park Atlanta. We do NOT want a similar operation here!

    2. So what exactly is an appropriate amount of time to wait after a meter expires to ticket someone for an expired meter? I’m not a Park Atlanta cheerleader but I see regular and consistent enforcement as a positive. It would be nice if they extended hours of enforcement and maybe included a meter or two with very low limits (like 15 minutes) to make getting takeout easier.

      1. +1
        How do we provide the turnover in parking that merchants and their customers need, if not through regulation and enforcement?
        And allow me to note, I’m speaking as someone who got mugged by Park Atlanta one week after moving to downtown Atlanta last summer. Parked on the street in front of Dunkin Donuts from 7:25-7:33 AM on a rainy Saturday, just to run in and grab doughnuts for my painters. I’m still bitter, but I also can’t think of an alternative to the bigger issue.

  6. I’m presuming this means all of the PALS will lose their jobs, replaced by outsourced (possibly contract and definitely not full-time) associates of a for-profit entity. That’s -1 Mayberry, -1 Berkeley, -1 Decatur, -1 humans. Guess we know where the only + is going: not into the community.

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