WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - When Allan Brooks, 70, stumbled upon the multi-space parking meter with pay-by-phone capabilities in the White Plains Library parking garage Thursday he had mainly praise for the new technology.
“[The mutli-space parking meter] is definitely easier. And they have a change machine right here,” said Brooks, a White Plains resident, who said the unmanned library garage office didn’t bother him because he normally pays fines in the Maple Avenue garage near the YMCA. “On the other hand, I haven’t located another pay station. I’ve been looking. Actually, I was waiting in line in the library.”
Earlier Thursday Mayor Thomas Roach and parking commissioner Albert Moroni unveiled the city's parking plan in front of the new meter pay station inside the library lobby.
Within the next month White Plains will add pay-by-phone technology to the White Plains Center garage, both of the Lexington-Grove garages, the Hamilton-Main garage, the Longview Cromwell garage, and the Mamaroneck Shapham Garage, which all have multi-space meters already. Pay-by-phone allows drivers to punch in their parking space number and add time to their meter via a credit card account linked to their phone.
Roach said he eventually hopes to transition street meters to a multi-space meter system that accepts bills and credit cards in addition to change.
“When I first became an active mayor one of the first things I wanted to address was the friendliness of parking,” said Roach, a Democrat. “This has always been a great concern for me because if people go out to dinner with friends sometimes they’re sitting there thinking, ‘Should I go leave my dinner and add time to my meter or get a ticket.’ Either way it adds stress.”
The city was able to acquire the multi-space meters now at the library from a private lot that no longer needed them. Each additional multi-space meter will cost about $15,000, according to Moroni. However, the new equipment coincides with the closure of the library and TransCenter garage offices earlier this July, which will save the city about $180,000 in salaries and benefits.
“It reduces maintenance and labor costs because people don’t have to take money out of meters now, which is very labor intensive, and they only have to fix four meters, not 300,” said Roach.
Moroni said multi-space meters and pay-by-phone technology has helped the city to give out 50,000 fewer tickets this year than last year.
“In general, the easier you make it to pay, the more people do,” said Moroni, who added that revenue from parking tickets has become a smaller percentage of city funds than revenue from parking meters.
What are your thoughts on the closure of the offices in the library and TransCenter garages that coincided with the switch to a flat overtime fee of $10 earlier this July? Do you think the multi-space meters and pay-by-phone technology will help you avoid tickets? What are your thoughts on the parking plan? Email thoughts to email@example.com and we'll include your responses in future coverage.