GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The days of digging through your wallet or rummaging through your car for change to feed the meter may soon be a thing of the past in Grand Rapids.
The city is in a 90-day trial of pay-by-space machines that for the time being have replaced nine meters along Ottawa Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids.
The machines cost about $12,000 each, according to the city, and will come with some cost savings.
"It saves us on collection time so, we won't have to have a person come and collect the meters all the time. It saves us on enforcement time because our enforcement personnel can stop at the beginning of the block and look at their handheld and see who hasn't paid on the whole block," Kim Miller, the Grand Rapids parking manager, said.
If the city should decide to invest in the machines they would likely replace meters in busy areas like like Monroe Center, Fountain Street, and Ottawa and Ionia avenues that currently see a lot of turnover at meters.
The machines bring added conveniences not only to the city, but also to downtown parkers. They allow downtown parkers to use coins, bills and now credit cards.
"As Grand Rapids is expanding a necessity for an automated operation system, especially in terms of a parking system, is a must," Calvin Vance, who parks downtown often, said.
The pay stations also come with features that should help parkers avoid getting parking tickets.
Parkers will have the option to enter their phone number into the machine to receive a message when the meter is about to run out of time.
Parkers would also get the option for a $0.35 charge to the parking company, rather than the city, to add time to the meter via heir phone.
It works much like the current Parkmobile program for smartphone users, which will continue even with the new pay stations.
Parking officials said that in a few weeks, they will start looking at how well the two pay stations are doing and eventually make a recommendation to the city commission about whether it should implement more.
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