## Big Press For Pay-By-Cell Meters

Decatur Metro | November 11, 2008Over on the Decatur Minute, Cheryl gives us a pictoral report from a morning press event surrounding our new Pay-By-Cell parking meters (pdf). She tells us to look out for a WABE interview that Lyn did. (We will! And post here when we find it!)

Well, it seems like the Associated Press was also present, because an article about Mayor Floyd pulling into a parking spot on the Square is already beginning to pop up on local newspaper websites all over the country.

Here’s a link to the AP article in the Idaho Statesman!

There’s some new info (to me!) about the technology in the article, including…

A handful of other cities around the nation employ similar systems. But Decatur is the first that uses technology that flashes the time bought on a meter instead of, say, a printed ticket, said Eric Groft, a StreetSmart project manager.

About 50 of Decatur’s 385 meters are outfitted with the pay-by-cell equipment, which costs an estimated $200 per meter. Each is outfitted with radios that can transmit data and sensors for detecting cars. It also lets drivers pay the old-fashioned way using change.

Great press for Mayor Floyd, Lyn and the City, I guess.

Thanks for posting the price per meter, Mr Metro.

That’s $10,000 for the meters (50 @ $200 ea). At the rate of 6 minutes for 5c, that’s 0.83c per minute.

It will take over 1.2 million minutes (833 days of continuous use) to pay off our Buck Rogers parking meters.

Is that a good city service to provide for the change impaired?

Your math is a little faulty. 83 cents per minute divided into 200 dollars per meter says that it would take 240 minutes to repay the 200 dollars. I guess this must be the same calculator you use to figure all your money saving propositions (

nowI’m be sarcastic).My math teacher checked my answer and said I meant 83 cents an

hour, not minute, so it takes 240 hours to repay the cost of a meter. If one assumes 6 hours of time usage per day (although the ones on McDonough and East Court Sq probably exceed that) it takes 40 hours of use, or about a week and a half, to “buy” one meter.My math teacher checked again (I need to submit my answers before posting, especially late at night) and said I meant to say 40

daysof use, or about 2 months, to pay the cost of a meter. Still a pretty good deal.You’re working overtime Steve. Maybe that is why your responses are so PRICKLY.

Now Times everything by 50…

No need to multiply by 50 – each meter stands on its own and can pay back its own cost in 2 months.

I can assure everyone that meters last quite a long time. Most of the meters we have in place now are going on 10 years. The new technology provides us with very useful information about how meters are used AND gives us the opportunity to provide several payment options for your convenience.

Steve

It’s point eight three cent per minute. Not 83c a minute or 83c an hour.

In other words, if you put in one nickel the meter gives you 6 minutes.

Given how people are happy to take on 60 months of car payments for a car they probably won’t even keep that long, two months of payment for 120 months of service sounds pretty good to me.

Let’s abandon the cost thread and wait to see if the meters do what they’re supposed to do: improve turnover and lower overall occupancy at any given time so downtown convenience-shoppers and other short-termers won’t be put off and will come spend their money!

Lyn

Can you be more specific about “very useful information about how meters are used?”

What will be done with that information?

Here’s an idea: Advertise that the parking meter rates in Decatur are lower than comparable urban shopping districts (less than a penny a minute)

Suggest that people bring their ‘nickels and quarters’ and save ‘dollars’ on “Terrific Thursdays”

Keeping a few coins in the car is really pretty easy.

At 5 cents per minute, the meter takes 60 cents per hour. Then the math shows a payback in 333 hours or 55 days or about 3 months of use.

I get 401 hours for payback, although this is splitting hairs.

20000 (cost of meter in cents)

divided by .83cents (revenue per minute)

= 24069 minutes

divided by 60 to convert to hours = 401

Steve, honestly, you are really bad at math.

To answer Taxus — we get immediate notification about problem meters (meter jams, batteries that need to be replaced, money cannisters that are near full etc.) so that staff can respond and keep them in working order. We also get information about how the metered spaces are used — percentage of turnover, average length of stay etc. Since this is real data we can do a better job of managing on-street parking.

CBS 46 segment – hattip to The Decatur Minute

Well 366 is different from 401, so using that figure it would take about an extra week for a meter to pay itself back. I’ve got to quit using base 10 in my calculations!

Give it up Steve. Fire your math teacher too.

The meters aren’t being fed 24/7, so let’s ask Lyn.

What is the average productive time in hours per day for a parking meter in Decatur?

My figures, as I stated, are based upon 6 hours of paid usage per day (out of 9 hours max – 9 to 6) and a 5 day week (although technically it should be 6 days).

Steve

Look at G’s message above. His variables are correct.

OK, if you use G’s numbers, 401 hours at 6 hours per day equals 67 days, or about 3 and a third months at 20 days per month usage (isn’t that about what I said before?). A meter pays itself back in a little over three months, which I would think is pretty good, and is a more realistic way to look at things than saying 1.2 million minutes.

Steve, It’s not what you said before.

But one could say that each new meter is taken out of service for three months, if the data is not productive. We won’t know that right away for sure, but I doubt the cost/effect will reduce our taxes.

The Governor has screwed us out of a sizeable tax subsidy. We need to be mindful therefore of how we spend our nickels.

Pay by cell, nor Annexation is no guarantee of Panacea.

Scroll up – here’s what I said before;

“At 5 cents per minute, the meter takes 60 cents per hour. Then the math shows a payback in 333 hours or 55 days or about 3 months of use.”

You crazy guys with your “math” arguments! You make me chuckle.

Taxus, I don’t think anyone thinks that pay-by-cell or annexation is a panacea to our high taxes. As Lyn mentioned earlier…the effort is an attempt to get a better grasp on how people use parking in Decatur, and perhaps make small adjustments accordingly going forward.

I kind of see it as similar to someone that instead of going out and just buying a new house because their current house feels “cramped”, reevaluates their space and the way they live, then they go ahead and reconfigure the furniture, add some new shelving and throw out all the crap they don’t use…and find they had plenty of space to begin with, they just weren’t using it as efficiently as possible. In the instance of parking, the city is attempting to improve parking without having to build more…(that was the city in 1960 when the city and Sqaure business owners wanted to tear down the courthouse to build a parking lot).

The fact that it may or may not pay for itself in the future is just potential icing on the cake. If it doesn’t end up providing any sort of useful info or service, I have faith that our leaders will scrap it.

Thanks for bringing us back to ground, DM.