Next time you land a parking space downtown, you might be feeding some newfangled contraption instead of a traditional parking meter.
The city is installing new multi-space meters at parking lots and streets downtown. The city tried out two types of multi-space meters (see Watch Out!, 7/5/2007) but settled on one that has parkers enter their space number into the electronic meter. It takes credit and debit cards as well as coins.
Bill Putnam, Madison parking engineer, says the meters will be more convenient for parkers and meter attendants, who won't have to individually check each car.
The city plans to install about 100 of the new meters this year, with another 100 likely. It won't get rid of all the 1,600 single-space meters, Putnam says, since the city needs "areas high in usage to cover the cost."
The new meters will cost $1.70 an hour for street parking and $1.45 for lots, 20 cents more than the current rate. "Part of that," says Putnam, "helps cover the cost of the machines."