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Poll: Your Ranking of On-Street Paid Parking Options

March 16, 2014 Featured, Parking 20 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The St. Louis Treasurer’s Office is looking at new parking technology for the City of St. Louis to replace the coin-only individual meters. For the poll this week I want to get a sense of which type of physical payment machine readers prefer.

Individual meters

We’re all familiar with the individual meter, but in the 21st century they can now accept credit cards, but not bills. Paying via a mobile app means you don’t need to fiddle with the meter.

Pay-and-Display stations

With Pay-and-Display you park, walk to a station to buy your time, take the receipt back to your car and stick it inside the side window (it has a Post-It like substance to self adhere), the paid receipt is valid in the same zone until the time expires.  With this option parking space length is not defined.  Accepts coin, cash, credit cards.  Paying via a mobile app means you don’t need to take a receipt back to your car.

Pay-Per-Space stations

Pay-Per-Space eliminates the need to return to your car. You park, note the 3-4 digit space number you’re parked in, walk to the station, enter the space number, pay for time, go to your destination.  Paying via a mobile app means you can pay while looking at the space number.

Mobile apps work with all three types. In the poll this week I’ve included every combination of the above types, I’d like you to pick the answer that corresponds with the order you prefer them from 1-3, the poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "20 comments" on this Article:

  1. matthb says:

    The amount of wasted space with the pay station test downtown is huge, all spaces are sized for huge SUVs. The pay-and-display system may force people to walk a little more, but it opens up probably 20% more spaces. Also any system should have the ability to incorporate dynamic pricing.

    • The size is the same as they were for individual meters, only pay-and-display removes fixed space lengths. Any of the three types can have dynamic pricing based on demand.

  2. RyleyinSTL says:

    I like the updated individual meter route. Debit, credit, mobile or coin payment makes everyone happy and, as an added bonus, it coddles the luddites. Plus, as far as I know, many old meters are upgradeable with an updated drop-in module eliminating the need to rip up infrastructure.

    • JZ71 says:

      While the debit credit and mobile options coddle the cool kids . . . .

      • moe says:

        Well God forbid that the cool kids get up off their butts and go and feed the meter. No, now they can just sit at the desk and ‘feed’ the meter. so much for rotation of the parking spaces so that we get customers into the areas instead of workers trapped in the office all day.

      • RyleyinSTL says:

        At some point in time, years ago, pocket change have value. You could actually buy something with it and therefore people actually carried it around. These days a 25 cent coin (quarter) can’t buy you anything, a number of countries have ditched the 1 cent coin (penny) and others are thinking about doing in the 5 cent coin (nickel). America is completely against coins over 25 cents in value (based in how much I see the dollar coin). Meters that takes bills, cards, RFID or mobile payment aren’t just convenient, they are necessary.

        • JZ71 says:

          One, if you’re driving a vehicle, keeping spare change in it (as opposed to your pocket or purse), for meters, is not a burden. Two, if we start charging more than $1 an hour for metered parking, we’re going to continue to drive people to the free, convenient parking in the suburbs.

          • Wrong, if we create a desirable downtown people will be willing to pay far more than $1/hour to park.

          • JZ71 says:

            On-street parking should be for convenient, short-term use, off-street-parking should be used for extended parking. Before we start charging more than $1 an hour, we need to start shortening the allowable times, to “encourage” people to use off-street parking, where several dollars per hour IS appropriate. And part of creating “a desirable downtown” is not giving shoppers a reason to avoid it!

          • Agreed, I’ve done several posts trying to push the enforcement of the 2 hour limit.

          • RyleyinSTL says:

            Exactly…STL has the cheapest meter parking rate I’ve experienced in a metro of it’s size. The last place I lived meters took $1 and $2 coins and folks still came downtown to do things.

          • Right, this fear mindset that just because suburbia has acres of free parking means we either need the same or tons of dirt cheap parking to compete has lead up to the point of destroying our competitive advantage — offering a genuine walkable/urban experience that you can’t get elsewhere in the region.

  3. Todd Spangler says:

    I would likely never use anything but coins regardless of the meter type but don’t especially care for the current system because I run into so many meters that are broken or perhaps just too full of coins for them to work anymore. I would favor whatever option has the lowest operating costs over time and would simultaneously make the most sense for those who are comfortable with the new technology (I am not in the tech savvy group but will make do regardless).

  4. JZ71 says:

    It would be interesting to see how much revenue comes directly from the meters and how much comes from fines, and the costs for both sides. There are parts of town where meters are installed that appear to be rarely used and there are other parts of town where enforcement of both meters and non-metered restrictions seems to be pretty lax. We might actually be better off focusing more on the enforcement side of the equation and less on high-tech (and expensive) metering. Doing so, either doing it old school (chalking tires) or using new mobile technology (license plate scanners), would likely yield similar revenues while creating more turnover in busy locations (our purported goal).

  5. I think the important thing is a consistent approach using multiple systems. The way I see it…

    1) Electronic pay-and-display (no set spacing) on entertainment/business corridors (downtown, Cherokee, Delmar, 14th, Russell, Grand, etc)
    2) Single-space meters for one or two blocks on streets intersecting the corridor.
    3) Street parking passes for residential areas of certain density and proximity to entertainment/business corridors. Showing matching ID at City Hall, residents purchase a 6-month or 1-Year pass (~$125-$225) tied to their License/Plate or VIN. One-day guest passes can also be purchased in books of 6 (~$40).
    4) Free street parking for residential areas with lower density and certain distance from entertainment/business corridor.

    In this way, you’re ensuring access/turn-over at key corridors, additional hourly options bleeding off the corridor, and assurances for nearby residents who may otherwise be inconvenienced by that corridor. Easy-peasy!

    Oh, and the most important thing…ticket, boot and tow; ticket, boot and tow! Without consistent enforcement, the whole system goes to pot!

    • JZ71 says:

      Interesting thoughts. Agree with your last sentence. Not so sure about residential permits – who gets to decide who gets a permit and who doesn’t? First to apply? Length of residency? Limit of one per residential unit? Two? Three? One per licensed driver? Award to the highest bidder? Building, buying or leasing a residential unit that does not include (enough) off-street parking is a choice – why should the city be expected to solve that problem with a limited, public asset? There’s a cost to greater density, and that includes either fighting for or paying dearly for a scarce commodity!

      • Something like that, yeah. Haven’t dug deep into the idea of residential street parking permits, but for areas where there’s a higher-than-average non-resident/resident street parking ratio, it’s a tool which the City can use.

        Looking at Chicago’s, for instance (https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/about/wards/30/news/requirements_forresidentialzoneparking.html ) I see that residential “zones” can be implemented if a traffic study shows higher than 45% of parked cars are non-residential. I also see they charge $25 for a pass…waaaaaaay less than the $125-225 I suggested. 🙂

        Using that as a basis, I’m really not sure which STL residential areas fit that bill. It’s not like we have a MLB stadium in the center of a dense neighborhood like Chicago has with the Cubs. Maaaybe there’s some overflow to side streets from a Delmar or a Cherokee or a Manchester. And I guess Shaw has the potential for regularly seeing a high amount of non-resident street parkers, what with the Gardens right there.


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