District Launches New Parking Meter Pilot Program

Single Space Meters Accept Credit Cards
PilotParkingMeter.jpgThe District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is piloting the first in a number of innovative technological advances in parking management with the introduction of a solar-powered, single-space meter that accepts credit cards as well as coins. If successful, this type of new single space parking meter could replace many of the antiquated coin operated meters now utilized throughout the city.

The solar-powered, credit-card accepting single space meter is an integral part of our comprehensive evaluation and restructuring of the parking program in the District, said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. We increased prices earlier this month and as promised are looking to implement new technologies that provide more efficient, accessible and convenient parking alternatives for our residents, businesses and visitors.

The District is engaged in identifying best practices throughout the country to improve our parking meter management system, said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. We encourage our residents and visitors to use these new meters and provide feedback so we can further improve our parking meter system throughout the city.

The DDOT pilot will run for three months in the following five locations.

* U Street/14th Street, NW (Ward 1)
* 2000 H Street, NW (Ward 2)
* 600 Indiana Avenue, NW (Ward 2)
* 5300 Wisconsin Avenue (Mazza Gallery) (Ward 3)
* 3500 John McCormick Road, NE (Catholic University/Brookland Metro) (Ward 5)

These areas were chosen using the following criteria 1) high demand/revenue and turnover, 2) $2/hour rate, 3) locations with aging meter stock.

Residents and visitors can provide feedback by residents and commuters can contact DDOT in a variety of ways: 1) call the Mayors Call Center at 311, 2) use the online Service Request Center or 3) text message or tweet to twitter.com/DDOTDC.

Meter installations began today. Installation of the new meter is simple and efficient taking approximately 2 minutes for the conversion. The head and mechanism are removed from the old meter and the new credit card accepting mechanism and new head are put in place. A total of 50 new meters will be initially piloted. The machines accept Visa or Master Card, credit or debit as well as coins including quarters, dimes and nickels.

The meters are powered by a solar-powered battery system, with a back-up battery pack. The batteries boast a 3 year life and are easily replaceable. There is a highly visible expiration time indicator and a wirelessly networked web-based management system which provides efficiency for the agency by providing life status through reports via text message or e-mail.

For coin operation simply insert coins like any ordinary meter.

For credit card operation the steps are easy 1) insert and then remove credit card, 2) choose the amount of time requested by using the blue buttons, 3) confirm acceptance or cancel, 4) wait for verification, 5) walk away.

This meter technology may also tie in with pay-by-phone technology also scheduled to be piloted, by networking into the web-based system, and communicating via wireless to the meter itself.

As previously reported, DDOT has already installed multi-space meters throughout commercial corridors in the District replacing many old and non-functioning single space meters. DDOT plans to roll out a number of parking meter pilot programs in addition to the solar-powered, credit card accepting, single space meters, including pay-by-cell and in-car metering systems. Each of the pilot programs will explore the latest in parking meter strategies and technologies.

DDOT is confident many of these new parking meter solutions will provide 1) better return on tax payers investment, 2) a variety of options, 3) reduced maintenance, 4) a variety of easy payment options and 5) increased reliability.
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