TRAVERSE CITY -- Drivers may see parking changes this summer as the city considers installing 12 new pay stations and new, theft-resistant meter housings.
Pay stations would be placed in five parking lots and one block of Front Street.
The Old Town Parking Deck at 125 E. Eighth St. already has two pay stations on the first floor. Drivers pick numbered parking spots, walk to the nearest pay station and pay for time in their chosen parking spots, rather than pumping change into meters. Stations accept cash or credit cards.
“Many who come from larger metropolitan areas are going to be familiar with the pay stations,” said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Rob Bacigalupi. “There will be a little confusion because we’ll have one block with pay stations and the other blocks are going to have meters. I think as long as we sign it properly we should be able to assure customers know where to go to pay.”
Mike Perkette, owner of Olde Towne Hair on Union Street, would like to see different changes. He thinks the city should post free parking hours on each meter and provide free downtown parking as long as employees leave prime spots for customers.
Perkette thinks most drivers would get used to pay stations if paid parking is the future.
“I think we’ll have a problem with the pay station for the older generation,” he said.
Parking meters aren’t left out of proposed changes. The city may purchase new housing for up to 325 existing parking meters. The new housing is meant to prevent theft, which Bacigalupi estimated totaled $70,000 in 2012.
“That’s a frustration,” Bacigalupi said. “How much exactly we lost, we don’t know. All we can do is estimate it based on our trends of collections.”
The Downtown Development Authority approved purchasing the pay stations and meter housings at its meeting on April 25 and the issue goes to the Traverse City Commission. The next city commission meeting is on Monday at 7 p.m.