New electronic parking meters on Muhammad Ali Boulevard. (Courtesy Tipster)
New electronic parking meters on Muhammad Ali Boulevard. (Courtesy Tipster)
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The Parking Authority of River City (PARC) is testing out new, high-tech parking meters in a pilot program in Downtown Louisville. Common in many cities including St. Louis, New Orleans, and New York, these meters offer increased flexibility and efficiency for everyone involved. Gerald Howel at PARC said the machines accept coins and smart parking cards like any standard meter in the city, but also allow motorists to pay with paper cash and credit or debit cards.

Three solar- and battery-powered terminals were recently installed on the north side of Muhammad Ali Boulevard between Third and Fourth streets, a site chosen for its high activity and nightlife. Howel said the meters will likely be turned on next week, allowing users to interact with an interface comparable to an ATM. Using a digital screen, drivers will select their parking spot number and confirm the charges. A similar pilot program was conducted at the end of 2003 in a different location. Upgraded handheld equipment used by parking attendants will allow them to wirelessly check for violations from a central point, increasing efficiency. Howel said PARC is also exploring a new pay-by-phone option.

PARC will study the results and could selectively replace meters on some blocks with these electronic examples in the future, but at $7,000 to $11,000 a pop, Howel said it doesn’t make financial sense to replace meters across the entire city.

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Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

4 COMMENTS

  1. Cincinnati experimented with a type of these kiosks and the results weren’t great. I have seen them work better, first-hand, in Atlanta, but even there users have not been thrilled with them.

    The problem is that it’s not intuitive, or convenient, to walk to a kiosk to pay for your parking spot which is not located immediately next to the pay station.

    Cincinnati has now begun upgrading their current single-space meters with digital pay options. The existing meters all throughout downtown Cincinnati have been slightly modified to accommodate this new system, and it appears to have been better received.

    More details here: http://urbn.cc/p25a

  2. I’d love to see Louisville use the Parkmobile system that Washington, DC and other cities are using. A sticker on the side of the meter gives you the “zone number” for that space, which you enter into a smartphone app and select how long you’d like to park. Presumably the meter enforcers have a device or app that lets them see that you’ve paid for parking, as the physical meter doesn’t actually show payment.

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