Coin-operated parking meters across the City of Santa Monica are about endure the extinctive fate of pay phones by the summer of 2012, as City Hall approved last Tuesday night the purchase and installation 6,100 solar-powered multi-payment units that accept credit cards and pay-by-phone applications.
The consent calendar item that drew no council discussion will result in the replacement of all parking meters across the city after a successful test program yielded positive results. City Hall allocated about $4.5 million for the installation of the new meters, which are expected to arrive as early as December.
Once installed, the multi-payment parking meters are expected to cost the city about $612,000 per year.
With every parking meter in Santa Monica being converted into a credit-card friendly parking meter, City Hall pointed out there would be several substantive benefits beyond consumer convenience. The multi-payment parking meters, which still accept coins in addition to the credit card and phone payment options, also have a positive environmental impact.
“The conventional parking meters only accept coins and Santa MoniCards. Drivers who do not have a Santa MoniCard or coins must move to another parking facility, thereby increasing vehicle circulation and emissions in their efforts to avoid a parking citation,” according to Frank Ching, a parking coordinator at City Hall. “To enhance the overall parking experience and accommodate the implementation of the City’s updated parking rate strategy, the City must provide parking meters that are able to accept multiple payment options in addition to coins and the Santa MoniCard.”
In addition, the trial program, which featured 75 new parking meters in “high demand areas” along Ocean Avenue, Arizona Avenue, and Main Street, also revealed an increase in revenue between 10 and 15 percent without a rate increase.
Another benefit is that since the new parking meters are solar-powered.This means the city will no longer need to use AA batteries to operate the older units. About 8,000 AA batteries annually were installed into the traditional coin-operated meters.
As a result of the new units, City Hall anticipates an additional $1.7 million of parking meter revenue for Fiscal Year 2012-13.
San Diego based IPS Group, Inc., was awarded the $4.5 million contract to install the new parking meters.