Ventura parking meters to go live in August

Parking meters are still coming to downtown Ventura, but the high-tech units wireless, solar-powered, capable of accepting credit cards wont be installed until August and fully operational until September, officials said this week.
Bringing pay stations to Main Street has been in the works since 2007, but delays and concerns over a backlash have dogged the project. A plan to install the meters in October was pushed back, partly because of concerns about the units arriving too close to a hotly contested City Council election in November.

In January, the City Council gave the formal green light, approving $855,000 for 65 pay stations and a wireless system to allow motorists and parking officers to access the system remotely. A large portion of the money is a loan to be paid back with revenue from the meters.

A June installation was announced at the time. But that has been moved to mid-to-late August likely just after the Ventura County Fair because negotiations with the meter manufacturer, Digital Payment Technologies, and wireless carrier Motorola took four months longer than expected, city Transportation Manager Tom Mericle said.

Its taken some time, but we have a set schedule now, Mericle said, adding that a public information campaign will coincide with the rollout.

The solar-powered pay stations will cover about 400 of 4,800 parking spaces downtown, with 280 of them on Main Street between Ash Street and the San Buenaventura Mission.

The multispace meters, which will cover about 6 to 7 spaces each, also will be installed on side streets off Main Street, between Poli and Santa Clara streets.

New signs directing motorists to free, longer-term parking also will be installed, and parking permits will be available for residents who live in the area.

To ease the transition, parking tokens will be given to businesses to give their customers prior to the meters going live, Mericle said. Volunteer parking ambassadors to help customers use the meter touch-screens also will be out and about.

Enforcement will be handled by police, using police cadets seven days a week. A sworn officer will be stationed downtown to supervise the cadets and manage parking-related enforcement activities and other security issues. The officer will be paid partly through meter revenues, Mericle said.

Proponents say the meters will improve parking space turnover and availability, particularly in front of shops, while providing a steady revenue stream to improve the area. All proceeds must be spent downtown, under the direction of a special parking district.

Downtown business owners and advocates called for the meters as way to meet growing demand for spaces, Mericle said. And it will help move people who work downtown to outer parking lots.

Critics contend the meters are unnecessary, could chase away customers and alter the welcoming character of downtown Ventura. They also question the timing because many area restaurants and shops are struggling in todays economy.

The initial parking fee will be $1 per hour for the first two hours and $1.50 for each hour afterward, and can be paid at the stations by coin or credit/debit card, Mericle said.

The rates, however, would be flexible and based on demand and use. Because the meters will be electronic, the rates could be changed and go down if demand drops, Mericle said.

The WiFi network also will allow motorists to use their cell phones to add more time.

The meters are projected to generate upward of $1.1 million annually. About three-quarters will go to operational costs and enforcement. The cost for the meters is to be paid off over five years, Mericle said. Future revenues could go to adding police services, landscaping, restrooms, sidewalk cleaning, better signs and alternative transportation programs.

The city of Glendale installed similar pay stations from Digital Payment Technologies a year and half ago. Users grumbled at first, but demand didnt drop and the city has experienced few issues with the meters, other than some vandalism, Glendale officials said.
  • Join our community for FREE today!

  • Create and share your own profile

  • Join the discussions

  • Publish your own items

  • Subscription to our Weekly eNewsletter

your benefits?

Get connected with parking professionals worldwide

Create your account

Sign in with LinkedIn Close

FREE membership benefits

  • * create and share your own profile
  • * join the discussions
  • * publish your own items on parking-net.commanage news, jobs, tenders, companies, events, showcases, educations, associations and literature.
  • * subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter
Add news yourself


There are no comments yet for this item

Join the discussion

You can only add a comment when you are logged in. Click here to login