In some Arlington locations, drivers are now able to pay by credit card, right at the curb. Unlike the multi-space pay and display meters showing up around the region, these parking meters are conveniently located right at each parking space, and do not require the driver to place a receipt on their dashboard.
The county is trying the new meters out for a 3 or 4-month pilot program.
The new meters are a drop-in replacement for the county’s existing parking meters. A video I can’t find again shows how they can be replaced in less than 30 seconds. The old meter is unlocked and the top and guts are removed, the new guts and a new top are installed. The meters use existing coin boxes and poles. According to Arlington County, the new meters are about $500 each. They are solar powered, accept credit cards, and do not need to have supplies like receipt paper periodically replaced.
The brochure states that the meters can be administered remotely, report errors or malfunctions by text message, and can even accept cell phone or contactless credit card payment.
Arlington is currently undergoing a series of public review and board approval cycles for their draft Master Transportation Plan. In the Parking and Curbspace Management element (PDF) of the draft plan, Arlington is contemplating a change to Performance Parking as one of its curbspace management tools. The draft element needs to be approved by the County Board (scheduled for November 14, 2009) before it will be official guidance for staff to draft revisions to county ordinances.
Assuming the Parking element is approved with something resembling Performance Parking, Arlington’s new meters would permit adjustment of meter rates at different times of day, and report data that allows staff to measure the relative popularity of different meters which would allow them to adjust rates based on demand.