New Erie Parking Technology to Debut in August
Kiosks, new pay-by-phone app to launch
Posted by Go Erie 8.1.18
Erie’s parking meter technology upgrade is nearly at hand.
The Erie Parking Authority expects to receive two new state-of-the-art parking kiosks this week, Deputy Director Christopher Friday said. The machines will be installed along West Sixth Street, between Peach and Sassafras streets, on Aug. 9, he said.
A new pay-by-phone app that lets people pay for parking via their cellular phones should be available to the public on Aug. 13, Friday said.
“To me, this is kind of a game-changer,” Friday said. “People have been asking for this kind of technology.”
The kiosks are manufactured by Flowbird, a parking technology company, and are being provided to the Parking Authority at no charge. They will be located in the high-use area outside the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W. Sixth St.
The machines can accept payments from coins, cash, credit cards or prepaid cards. One kiosk can cover a number of parking spaces, and the machines can also send text alerts if someone’s meter time is expiring.
Those using the downtown kiosks will input their vehicle’s license plate number when buying meter time.
The pay-by-phone app, which is being tested now, was developed by Meter EZ, a company with offices in Erie’s Renaissance Center, 1001 State St. The mobile app allows users to buy meter time at designated single-space parking spots or surface lots.
Meter EZ will be paid between 20 cents and 40 cents per transaction, depending on how users pay for parking.
The pay-by-phone technology can also send a text message to a person’s cell phone if their meter time is running out and more time needs to be purchased. The technology can also be used at sites with existing meters because Parking Authority enforcement employees will be equipped with hand-held devices that can tell them quickly if a vehicle has used the app to pay for parking.
Parking Authority officials have stressed that the upgrade plan will replace many but not all of the city’s 1,400 coin-operated parking meters, and people can still use coins to pay for parking if they wish.
The exact cost of a large-scale upgrade of the parking meter system, over several years, could be as much as $2 million. The upgrades would be paid for, in part, through higher fines and penalties that took effect July 1.
The Parking Authority could also contribute roughly $300,000 of its reserve funds to the upgrades and could borrow additional money to help pay for the improvements.
Kevin Flowers can be reached at 870-1693 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNflowers.