Downtown Carlisle parking upgrade discussed
Feb 26, 2013 (The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Updating Carlisle's aging parking meters likely won't be a simple case of switching out old technology.
"We have a number of meters that are getting past their useful life," said borough manager Matthew Candland, at a meeting Monday night to discuss parking issues. "We're at a point where we have to make a number of decisions."
Assistant borough manager Debra Figueroa outlined the four options for the borough as it seeks to update those meters. Aside from keeping the current single space meters, the borough could install updated versions of the single space meters, smart meters or parking kiosks which would accept payment for parking for multiple spaces at a single location.
Costs for each system vary, Candland said. Costs for keeping the current meters would depend upon the cost of the parts needed to maintain them. An updated version of the meters would cost about $165 each to install while the single space smart meters that accept coins, credit, debit, smart card or pay by cellphone apps would cost closer to $500 per meter. Kiosks run more than $5000.
The borough has 800 parking meters.
The smart meters come with additional costs for the modem and, potentially, for transaction fees involving credit or debit cards. Mike Dalzell, vice-president of sales for Duncan Solutions, the current vendor for the borough's parking meters, said cellular fees for the meters cost about $7.50 per meter per month.
"We would have to increase our parking rates to sustain them," Figueroa said. "If you want this technology, it just costs more to run."
Dalzell recommended the borough increase its hourly rate to $1.25 per hour. "At $1 an hour, it's probably a break even," he said.
"You can see how this starts a domino effect," Candland said. If parking rates are raised, the borough would have to look at increasing its parking violation fine which is $5.
Dalzell said the $5 fine was the lowest he's seen. "Usually it's $25 out of the gate," he said.
The borough is considering a pilot program to test the smart meters on a stretch of High Street near Bosler Library, Figueroa said.
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