The City of Dover will activate 9 multi-space, solar-powered parking meters at three locations beginning Monday, January 4, 2010. This is the first time that Dover has purchased parking meters that accept credit and debit cards, one dollar coins, quarters, dimes and nickels. Five of the new meters will be replacing 82 electronic, single space meters that are very near the end of their service life. This is phase one of a two phase state-of-the art, pay and display meter rollout that will cover the central business district, both on-street and public off-street parking, ultimately bringing a system approach to Dover’s parking infrastructure. The system will be reviewed and adjusted as needed by the City’s Parking Commission.
The three locations are the Orchard Street Parking lot, located between Central Avenue and Chestnut Street, the Belknap Parking lot, located next to the Masonic Temple Building between Central Avenue and Locust Street and the section of Henry Law Avenue between Washington Street and George Street where there are angled parking spaces. The Henry Law location is the only site where there aren’t currently parking meters.
To ensure that the meters are being used properly, Parking Enforcement Officers acting as ambassadors, will circulate at the meter locations over the next several days following the go-live date of Monday January 4th, distributing printed instructions, offering assistance and answering questions about the new meters. City Staff also plan on visiting the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street in two sessions to provide an overview of the program and to provide printed material. The Planning Department is supplying brochures to downtown businesses, the Mills and the Children’s Museum, to name a few. It’s a great step forward in replacing equipment used in our everyday operations with up-to-date technology. “The new meters are both customer friendly and technically advanced, and I expect that they will improve the city's parking system and move the City one step closer to convenient, adequate, “worry free” parking for all the different kinds of parkers in downtown”, said City Planner Bruce Woodruff.
The multi-space meters were purchased from Parkeon, Inc., an international company with U.S. offices in Moorestown, New Jersey. The City chose Parkeon's product after a lengthy review process by a selection committee representing various city departments. In addition, the City’s consultant for the parking garage study and the City’s ad-hoc garage financial feasibility committee reached out to both the Chamber and downtown merchants with this concept.
The model of Parkeon meter purchased by the City of Dover is known as the Strada Rapide. Nine meters were purchased. The Strada Rapide is a pay and display type meter, referring to the receipt dispensed by the meter that must be left on the drivers side dash face up to prove that payment has been made. It is a newly designed model of meter that has also recently been purchased by several parking authorities across the Country. The Strada Rapide offers a number of attributes of interest to the City of Dover. Some of which are:
Payment Options - Providing payment options improves customer service by making both City lot and on-street parking in Dover more convenient for drivers. Nickels, dimes, quarters, dollar coins, and credit and debit cards with Discover, MasterCard or Visa logo, will be accepted for payment. Credit/debit payments will be processed and authorized on-line and in real-time for security purposes. Furthermore, the credit/debit option will help to streamline the collection process for the City, which last year collected thousands of dollars in coins.
Multi-Lingual Capability - The City's new meters have been programmed to provide payment instructions in three different languages. Drivers using the new meters can receive instructions in English, French or Spanish.
Wireless Communication - Wireless communication will inform the City of a problem with any particular meter, such as, if the machine is running low on paper for receipts or if there is a jam in the coin slot. This will allow staff to service the meters quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, unlike the electronic meters that may be put out of service if the coin slot is jammed, the multi-space meters will continue operating if one of the two payment options is out of service. Data transactions, financial records, and reports are processed instantly using the web-based back office software.
Anti-Vandalism Features - The exterior of the meter is finished with an anti-graffiti coating to allow for easy clean-up. Also, the door of the meter is outfitted with an alarm designed to notify the city immediately if the meter is opened at an unauthorized time.
Parking Options – Parkers will now be able to park in any of the City’s three pay and display areas using the same ticket provided there’s enough time left on the ticket, greatly increasing parking location flexibility for the user. Since Dover’s ticket has been designed with a tear-off stub receipt, there is an opportunity to implement traditional shop and park programs as other municipalities and their downtown merchants have done.
City Planner Bruce Woodruff said ,"Throughout this process, we have worked to ensure that the meters we chose fit the specific needs of the City of Dover. As a result, we do not expect to experience with these new meters the same few persistent problems that we have encountered with our older obsolete single head meters, specifically vandalism, service issues and payment restrictions. These new meters will be customer friendly, and will enable retail customers, workers and visitors to park more easily without having to fish for change”.