First phase of downtown parking kiosks begins Tuesday

Glitches expected to be worked out by then

Kamloops Daily News
November 9, 2013 01:00 AM

Jon Wilson, community safety and enforcement manager for Kamloops, shows how to use a parking kiosk that was set up inside Caffe Motivo on Victoria Street for a week to allow people a chance to try it out.

On Tuesday morning, the covers come off and the KamPark kiosks go on.

The unit that's been in demo mode at Caffe Motivo for the past couple of weeks has helped the City become aware of a couple of wrinkles that have been ironed out before the new devices go "live" Tuesday.

City community safety and enforcement manager Jon Wilson said Friday the units were initially timed to turn on at 9 a.m., when parking meter rates kick in. But some people have wanted to pay earlier, so they will now turn on at 7:30 a.m., but the meter doesn't start ticking until 9.

The other glitch has been that the City installed generic receipt paper rather than the customized kiosk paper to save some money at the start.

Drivers will get a receipt that says "place on dash," but they don't have to, Wilson said.

And if they want a reimbursement from any of the 20 merchants who will validate their parking, they will need to keep it.

The City is installing 56 of the French-built kiosks for now; the remaining 34 will follow as the company catches up on backorders. Some components are made in the U.S. and were not shipped during the American government shutdown, Wilson said.

Pay-by-cellphone is not yet available, but will follow as the system gets established, he said. Wilson couldn't give a date for that feature.

Along with the kiosks come higher parking prices: $1 an hour from the current 50 cents an hour for the first two hours, and $2 for a third hour.

The City is borrowing $1.7 million to buy the kiosks, with the increased parking rates going toward paying off the loan and associated costs, such as communication fees, credit card fees and a warranty program.

The 90 kiosks replace 850 aging parking meters and will allow drivers to pay by credit card or cash for now, and eventually with their smartphones.

Wilson said the City is also buying into a replacement program that will see the kiosks replaced within 10 years.

The City now gets about $500,000 in revenue from parking meters. With the doubled rates and additional costs for the new equipment, the revenue will drop for a few years. Once the loan is gone, however, some of the revenue will go toward other parking downtown, such as a parkade.

Mayor Peter Milobar said the City is in talks with a few property owners about potential parkade sites. However, talks are moving slowly.

Another wrinkle in that effort is the performing arts centre, which could be built in conjunction with a parkade if there was a large enough lot and a will from taxpayers.

The task force looking at the centre has hired a consultant to consider at the size of land needed and what kind of options are available.

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