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Downtown

City to upgrade parking meters with options to pay by plate number, extend via text message

The city says the changes will save tens of thousands in paper and administrative costs, cut down on customer service calls, and provide a better experience for drivers downtown.

Trevor Dickerson

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Paying to park downtown is about to get a little easier, thanks to some upgrades to the city’s parking meters. Enhanced technology is in the works for the City’s nearly 160 solar-powered parking pay stations that will enable motorists to pay using their license plate information. Drivers will also be able to extend the time on the pay station by mobile text message.

The “Pay-by-Plate” option, as city officials have dubbed it, will take effect on January 2nd, 2017. Those using pay stations can enter their license plate number directly into the machine when they pay. The system will save the information for parking enforcement officers, thus eliminating the need to print a dashboard ticket–but don’t fret, you can still have a receipt printed if you want one.

In addition, there also will be an “Extend-by-Phone” option. In this scenario, the driver will receive a text message notification when the parking space time is running out. As long as there is time available within the posted time zone, more time can be added via text message.

The city says the upgrades will result in reduced paper usage–an estimated savings of $25,000 annually, lower downtime and maintenance costs, and a 50% reduction in customer service calls for parking-related issues.

Officials plan to distribute educational materials outlining the newly-upgraded meters and will station “meter greeters” at key locations around town during the transition.

Check out the video the city put together outlining the new features below.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.