Parking space

City of Columbus is phasing out parking meters for kiosks

Obsolete meters have been replaced by electronic stations that allow drivers to pay from anywhere and simplify parking control.

If you’ve recently tried to park on the street in Columbus, you might have wondered where the meters went. In May, city crews swept the city, removing more than 3,000 parking meters.

Many meters, says Robert Ferrin, assistant manager of Columbus parking services, were becoming obsolete. The computers inside the decade-old devices were hooked up to the cloud via 2G technology, which is being phased out by most carriers. Instead of replacing the meters, the city decided to install 145 multi-space terminals. (A few newer meters will remain in service.)

Due to the popularity of the Park Cbus app, Ferrin says, “People are now much more comfortable using their license plate as an ID to pay. So we wanted to reinforce that with a pay-per-plate parking kiosk. »

When drivers identify their car by plate number when parking or purchasing a residential parking permit, the city can use cameras mounted on enforcement vehicles to ensure compliance and issue tickets.

Stations are programmable remotely, so city staff can modify time limits or rate changes from anywhere, and drivers can pay for parking or add time to their parking spot at any time. from the app or any kiosk in town, as long as they remember their license plate. and the area where the car is parked.

The terminals allow drivers to pay for their parking in different ways: by tapping or inserting a credit card or by using a watch or a payment app. There are also SMS and call payment options and signage with QR codes that will take drivers to a website for guest payment. Kiosks also accept nickels, dimes and quarters.

Ferrin says on-street parking revenue, hitting $7 or $8 million a year before 2020, plummeted 85% during the pandemic, but is gradually returning to health. He does not expect the new parking system to affect this, although it will reduce maintenance costs.

And he will be happy to see the meters disappear from the scene. “We believe this leads to a cleaner, more attractive streetscape.”

Operate the counters

Robert Ferrin, Columbus’ parking representative, said the city will send most decommissioned meters to the junkyard, but keep a few for the community. Monthly Columbus contacted a few community members to see if they could use an old parking meter. (Interested? Email [email protected]; supply is limited.) Rebecca Rhinehart, the Bexley Town Schools Theater Director, responded quickly.

“I would totally use an old counter in plays,” she wrote. Such a realistic prop, she says, “just by itself can indicate where a scene is taking place: we instantly understand that we are on a street”. She used a fire hydrant in several rooms.

Rhinehart has also offered, just for fun, some other ideas for using old meters. Here are a few:

  • Spray gold paint and use it as a trophy for some sort of City of Columbus award
  • A beautiful and practical dead time corner decoration
  • Put it in your driveway and make money with your family and friends
  • Use it to remind you to get up from the computer once in a while – maximum one hour parking

This story is from the July issue of Monthly Columbus.


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