Sunday April 20, 2014

Watch those cones; City moves a couple of parking pay stations

Nadine Kammerer uses the new pay parking system at Victoria Street and Third Avenue in this file photo.

Two 200-kilogram parking pay stations have been moved after complaints from businesses and customers.

That wasn’t unexpected, and out of 90 units, that’s still a low number, said City corporate services and community safety director David Duckworth.

“We’ve relocated a couple of them based on feedback from customers and businesses. We tried to put them in the best places possible, we’ve listened to some of the feedback,” he said Monday.

Kiosks that were located on the interlocking brick of Victoria Street have been replaced by orange warning cones, because the bolts to secure the units can’t be removed just yet, he said.

“Until we can remove those bolts as a trip hazard. . . given its winter, they may be there two to three months.”

Pay stations on other streets where there’s concrete can be removed entirely, Duckworth said. Other than location, the kiosks have been working fine.

While some people are still figuring out how to operate the machines, the rest of the feedback the City has received has been mostly positive, he said.

Last week, the City set up express stalls on Victoria Street that still use the old-tech meters. There’s a 15-minute maximum for those and the pay stations aren’t applicable.

The next step is to get the smartphone app going. Duckworth said it will be done in two phases.

“By end of January, we’ll hopefully be able to launch the app. And then upgrade a feature in early spring. The feature will allow you to text a number instead of walking to the kiosk,” he said.

Users have to download the app, set up an account online with their licence plate number and cellphone number. They type in a code and then will be able to send a text to start the parking charges. When they’re ready to leave, they send another message to end the parking charges.

“You can do a predefined maximum when you set it up online. We would encourage people to set the max to three hours,” he said.

The City is working with the app developer to come up with some other add-ons, such as text messages being sent out 15 minutes before parking time runs out.

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