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Another Parking Meter Test Starts Monday

February 1, 2014 Central West End, Downtown, Featured, Parking 4 Comments

The previous St. Louis Treasurer, Larry Williams, conducted limited testing of modern parking collection technology on South Grand in 2006. There were a couple of blocks of pay-per-space and a few pay-n-display. (FYI: In St. Louis the treasurer is responsible for parking revenue.)

What’s the difference between the two types?

  • With pay-per-space each fixed-length parking space is assigned a number. After parking you walk to a nearby pay station, enter the space number where you  parked, and pay.
  • With pay-n-display you park, walk to a nearby pay station, buy time, return to your vehicle and display  the receipt on the inside of the windshield.

Each has pros & cons compared to each other and against individual meters. In 2006 it was concluded neither pay-per-space or pay-n-display were right for St. Louis. I say the design of the test was flawed — only 2-3 blocks of each and they were next to each other. Someone might park in front of a store and use pay-per-space and a few days later park a block away and use pay-n-display.

A pay=per-space station on South Grand, November 10, 2006
A pay-per-space station on South Grand, November 10, 2006
A pay-n-display machine on South Grand in April 2006
A pay-n-display station on South Grand, November 10 2006

Monday St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones will announce new pilot programs testing new parking technology. The treasurer’s office director of communications, Deborah Johnson, told me via email:

The city has previously tested “pay-n-display” units, where the customer must walk to the unit, print a ticket, and walk back to their car to display the ticket. The multi-space units this pilot is testing will use the “pay by space” method, where the customer types in the 4 digit space number they are parked in and does not have to return to their vehicle to place a ticket. Instead, the system automatically monitors and communicates with enforcement officers.

I reminded her both pay-per-space & pay-n-display were tested simultaneously.

In response to another question she said:

The pilots are in four locations in the city: 10th Street between Chestnut and Washington; Broadway and Pine; Euclid and Laclede; and Euclid and Maryland. The pilot will be in place for six months.

The new equipment is already installed on 10th Street, I posted the following picture to Twitter & Facebook yesterday:

Pay-per-space meter installed on 10th, will be functional starting Monday
Pay-per-space stations on 10th will be functional starting Monday

Of note is the stations on 10th accept coins, bills, and credit cards. You’ll even be able to extend the amount of time via phone!

Instructions to extend time, click image to view website.
Instructions to extend time, click image to view the mobile-optimized website.

From the site:

Extend-by-Phone is an innovative service that enables the parking meter to send you a text message reminder when your parking is about to expire, and allows you to add time to your parking by simply replying to the reminder message with the amount of additional minutes you need.

The FAQ answers common questions, such as fees.  Of course this could mean even more people stay parked longer than the 2-hour limit, see St. Louis Not Enforcing Short-Term Parking Limits.

Small signs with numbers replaced the meters on 10th
Small signs with numbers replaced the meters on 10th

I’m glad to see recent testing isn’t limited to a very tiny test area as in 2006. I also appreciate the caution given the infrastructure costs to change, but I’d hoped for something more modern years ago. Treasurer Jones has only been in office a little over a year and for someone who campaigned on not wanting to be a “parking czar” she and her staff are making changes at a record pace compared to her predecessor.

I look foreword to hearing the official details on Monday.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dustin Bopp says:

    By what criteria did the 2006 test “fail?” And by what criteria will this test be judged?

  2. JZ71 says:

    And from Louisville – their parking meter enforcement is, legally, Monday-Saturday, yet no one is scheduled to work on Saturdays! http://www.whas11.com/community/TONIGHT-AT-11–242620471.html . Maybe the something similar is going on here?

    • moe says:

      Doubtful JZ…I’ve fought a few tickets I received on Saturdays that had the sticker Monday-Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays excluded. But unless they can block extra hours, this just makes it easier for someone to park their car and feed the meter from their office.

  3. Mark says:

    I am all for this and I hope that the city institutes event pricing for parking during ball games. During ball games downtown all of the parking around our building is taken up by people attending games and parking for free leaving no parking available for anyone visiting local businesses. I believe that the locals and the city are getting ripped off by the drive in/outs who contribute nothing to the downtown local ecomomy. Wth event parking t least they can contribute $10 or $20 per game to the city.


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