The City Council of San Antonio unanimously approved a plan Thursday to replace 635 downtown parking meters with 134 state-of-the-art, solar-powered pay stations.
The new units, which the city will purchase from the city of Seattle, accept credit cards as well as coins and enable customers to use any leftover parking time at another location. Each pay station is the size of a small kiosk and will serve one downtown block. Paula Stallcup, director of downtown operations, said the pay stations also will make more efficient use of municipal workers' time. Right now, our meter crews have routes, and a meter may have two coins or it may have 200 coins, Stallcup said. But the pay station communicates with a server that can tell us how many coins and transactions it has. So we'll be able to plot to see how frequently an area needs servicing. The city will spend an estimated $1.4 million from its Parking Repair and Replacement Fund for the stations, which are manufactured by Parkeon Inc. The pay stations will replace one- and two-hour meters, which record the highest volume. The 10-hour meters are not used very often, Stallcup said. The higher-used meters that turn over several times a day are where we will achieve some efficiency, The city plans to roll out its first pay stations in early May and have all 134 installed by early July.