Solar-Powered Parking Meter Considered

Austin joins cities across the U.S. and elsewhere in shifting away from individually-metered spaces and towards pay stations in an effort to increase revenue and efficiencies.

"On Thursday, the City Council will vote on an $8.4 million contract with New-Jersey-based Parkeon for up to 750 solar-powered parking kiosks that accept coins and credit and debit cards. Parkeon would install 500 kiosks in and near downtown in September, October and November.

Austin's current 3,800 coin-only meters are 13 years old, and they broke 14,000 times last year, causing the city to lose as much as $500,000 in fees, fines and staff time.

'The existing meters were only designed to last 10 years,' said Robert Spillar, Austin's director of transportation. Spillar said the city plans to replace most of the old meters.

The kiosks are expected to last 15 years. Austin would pay for them using short-term debt. The parking fees would pay off the debt in eight to 10 years, Spillar said. But starting next year, the city should have money left over each year after making its debt payments and would use it for traffic, road and sidewalk improvements, he said.

Each kiosk would replace eight to 11 meters and would be about 6 feet tall, 10 inches wide and 10 inches deep, Spillar said. The kiosks print receipts showing the date and parking expiration time. Drivers post the receipts inside their cars, and they would be allowed to move to other spaces and still use remaining time."

Full Story: City may replace parking meters with solar-powered kiosks

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