Monday, May 21, 2012

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!!!

If you carefully examine this photo, you will see Roger Beliveau of the Parking Department removing the pay-by-space kiosk in the parking lot behind the Kidcity Children's Museum.  No wonder he's smiling!  These machines have been a real pain the neck.

In March of 2011, the old coin meters were removed from this lot and replaced with numbered signs and electronic kiosks.  In theory, this was a convenient way for folks to pay for their parking - just remember your space number and put in the money or your credit card.

Unfortunately, the reality was not so seamless.  People often waited in lines to pay for their parking as it took minutes to understand the directions, or they found the machine inoperable, or they just learned to avoid this parking lot altogether.    In spite of a long campaign to see if the public would grow to like the new system, and several efforts to improve the machines and communication, it turned out that the machines were just a bad match with the high turnover of infrequent visitors who never seemed to get the hang of it.  As both the director at Kidcity and a member of the Parking Committee, I heard endless complaints about the system, and I think it's great that Parking Director, Geen Thazhampallath, was able to come up with a solution.

Now the lot has parking meters for each space, which take either coin or credit cards, just like on Main Street.  The center of the lot - where they have not yet installed permanent poles - has a short-term area of "2 hours free" parking, until the larger parking lot re-paving takes place.

The rate in the metered spaces is still 75 cents per hour - but I'm hoping that the technology change will mean much happier customers at Kidcity.  I know my neighbors at Amato's Toy & Hobby, Stylez n Filez, and Sweet Harmony Cafe feel the same way about the removal of the kiosks!

The pay-by-space kiosks will be redeployed in an area that has longer-term parkers, and a majority of repeat users.   This technology has worked well in other towns, when the clientele have a chance to climb the learning curve on using the machine - so the kiosks won't go to waste.

Let's hear it for the return of good old-fashioned parking meters!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Bobrick said...

Yay! Try as I might, I never could figure out how to use these, so I just stopped parking there. Thanks to Gene & others for listening.