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As Donald Shoup reminds us, there's no such thing as free parking. This just means that street parking will be subsidized to a higher degree than normal.
I would like to hear some comments from people who frequent these pay stations. Do you prefer them over meters? I ask only because I see people in line with long waits at the pay stations.
I would much rather pay by credit card than use coins -- if I felt confident that the pay stations were working properly. Twice in the last three weeks I've encountered paystations that didn't work (punching buttons did nothing, or the card wouldn't read). I'd rather go forward to credit card pay stations that work than back to meters... but these pay stations have been pretty buggy so far!
Hi, cityperson, I park downtown and other areas of the city where parking is not free several times a week. My personal preference is old fashioned meters with coins. I'm so old (mid 40s) that I've had a long-standing habit of collecting quarters in my cup holder to pay meters. The pay stations aren't awful, but 1) Sometimes there's a line, often delayed by confused novices and 2) It's been dang cold lately... throwing three quarters in a slot and giving a twist is much quicker. :-)
LOVE LOVE LOVE the new meters. Was in uptown and snagged a spot several blocks away. Ran into a friend and decided to grab a drink. In the past I would have had to get change and then walk three blocks to plug a meter. Instead I used the pay station nearest to me and paid for additional time on my spot with a credit card (I had the receipt so i knew the spot #). Saved me a lot of hassle!!!
The reason their are lines at some pay stations is that people don't realize they can use any pay station --it doesn't need to be the one on the block where you parked. Any pay station will accept payment for any spot!!
These meters can also apply analysis to how meters are used. In my neighborhood they actually now allow free parking after 6pm, instead of 10pm because they found that the meters weren't used frequently after 6pm anyway. They never had this data before because the meters weren't keeping track of when people used them.
Don't like these new meters at all. They're overly complicated and in the winter the LCD readouts get slow and hard to read. That's no good when it's freezing, especially if there is more than one person trying to use them. I frequently see people standing in front of these thing trying to figure them out. Just having a meter that one can drop quarters into is so much easier. BTW - the new parking ordinances where people are being charged until 10 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays is way out of line. A sad sympton of a city that can't manage it's finances.
To err is human, but to really screw things up, use a computer. :)
I like the new pay stations better. When I park downtown, it's usually for business purposes. Now I can use my business credit card to pay, and get an itemized statement for tax purposes. I also liked the old stored value cards, but there weren't enough "refill" stations available. As usual with electronic devices, they get sluggish when it's cold, which is a downfall in Minnesota. But overall, I like them a lot.
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Updated Aug. 22, 2011
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