Township’s Parking Services Department Wins Innovation Award For New Meters

Lower Merion Township’s Parking Services Department has been presented with the “Award Of Excellence for Parking Innovation” by the Pennsylvania Parking Association.

The award was given during the trade group’s annual Parking Conference, Workshop, & Exhibition, held in Pittsburgh last week, and was part of the annual Parking Design and Innovation Awards ceremony. Board members from the Pennsylvania Parking Association vote on the projects, which represent parking-related excellence in design, equipment, operations, and construction among the industry and the general public.

The Township’s parking meter installation was submitted for consideration by POM Inc., the Arkansas-based manufacturer of the parking meters, and beat out four other finalists.

“We really put everything into these meters,” said Thomas Pintande, Director of Parking Services for Lower Merion Township. “It’s not just the free time button, which has gotten a lot of attention. It also has high-visibility displays, a ’smart-lock’ system for security and collection, a closed-can collection system, and a refundable smart-card reader.”

The meter is also the first of its kind to have replaceable display parts, another patented piece of technology offered by POM. “Altogether, that’s what separated us from the other finalists,” Pintande commented.

There are six different categories of awards. The Township’s project was submitted under “Parking Technology/Equipment.” For consideration, either a company or a project had to be located in Pennsylvania – other projects included selections from New Jersey (the new Revel Casino) and Florida (the Miami Marlins’ stadium garages), among other locations across the country.
Projects considered had to have been completed between Jan. 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. Lower Merion Township’s new single-space meters were installed in the early months of 2011, after a thorough study of several other companies’ models and public discussions. The 10-minute “free time” button on the 1,600 new meters allows drivers to run a quick errand or to get enough change to use the meter for a longer period of time. Selection of POM’s meters was based on the cost of replacement and maintenance, the new payment options and added convenience for residents, and the potential for upgrades to the meters in the future.

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