New parking pay stations coming to Uptown

Next week, hundreds of old, coin-only parking meters in Uptown will be replaced with smart, solar powered parking pay stations that accept both credit card and coin payments. They’ll join the hundreds of pay stations in other parts of town that have improved efficiency and reduced vehicle tows. By the end of the year, pay stations will be used for around 5,500 metered on-street parking spaces all around Minneapolis.

Replacing our older meters with the parking pay stations helps the City provide better services economically. About half of all payments are made with credit cards, which means less frequent trips are needed to empty change from the machines. And since there’s just one meter pay station per side of the block, employees spend less of their work day collecting that money. The meter pay stations also use rechargeable batteries that are solar powered. That saves money that used to be spent on replacement batteries, and also reduces service calls.

Parking pay stations are programmable, and have the ability to handle variable parking rates at different times of day. On streets where parking is prohibited during peak drive times, the pay stations won’t accept money to pay for parking spots that have become “tow away” zones. This new technology has resulted in around 48 percent fewer tows on these streets where they are currently used in downtown Minneapolis.

The multi-space meter pay stations coming to Uptown are similar to ones now in service in much of downtown Minneapolis. When the old parking meters come down, numbered parking space signs go up in their place. Drivers who park at those spaces input the unique space numbers into pay stations to pay for their parking time. The machines take credit cards, debit cards, quarters and dollar coins. 

Weather permitting, 34 new pay stations will be up and running in Uptown by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 21. They will be along Lake Street, Lagoon Avenue, Hennepin Avenue, and other nearby streets. Drivers in Uptown should continue using the older parking meters until they are removed.

The pay stations will join the 350 others that are already in service Downtown. Plans call for the installation of around 175 additional pay stations throughout Minneapolis later this year. By fall, all of the City’s older parking meters in town will have been replaced. 

The switch to multi-space parking pay stations came as a result of a selection process that included written proposals and a six-month field test along Minneapolis streets. 

Published Mar. 16, 2012