Credit card parking meters trial run comes to close

With the end of the trial period for Evanstons credit card parking meters approaching, city officials said residents reactions have been minimal but positive.
evanston 3611590061.jpgIve gotten no real negative feedback, said Parking Manager Rickey Voss. They like the technology, the convenience of the credit card.

But feedback on the new meters has been scant in general, Voss said. The meters seem to have flown under most residents radars.

The city installed the meters along Sherman Avenue and Davis Street in November. In addition to allowing users to pay by credit card, the meters can be programmed online to charge different rates at different times of day, Voss said. After April 30, the City Council will decide whether to buy more of them.

The meters proved they could withstand the winter, which was one of the factors the city was considering, Voss said. Cold weather did not cause the meters to malfunction.

The meters also protected users credit card information, said Parking Facilities Supervisor Mark Turenne.

Theyre just as safe as using a credit card anywhere else, he said.
Irene Howland, who used one of the meters when she parked at Grove Street and Sherman Avenue on Monday afternoon, praised them for their convenience.

I travel a lot, so its really easier, she said. I think its a huge improvement.

And Turenne said he had used the meters himself and his experience with them had been positive.

But to Susan Diaz, who works at Egéa Spa, 1521 Sherman Ave., the most notable feature of the meters was not their technology but their two-hour time limit. She criticized them for interfering with her clients appointments.

They suck, she said. Its not like people can just stop and put their clothes back on.

It would likely be too expensive for the city to replace all its meters, Turenne said. The meters currently cost the city about $350 a month in maintenance fees, Voss said.

Still, Turenne expects Evanston to adopt more meters eventually, perhaps in areas with high concentrations of restaurants, he said.

I think were going to go toward this kind of technology, Turenne said. To what degree, I couldnt say.
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