New parking meter options

    A coin-operated parking meter in the Crescent. Photo: Southland Express files

    INVERCARGILL’S coin-operated parking metres are due to expire.

    Invercargill City Council roading manager Russell Pearson said the city had 750 coin-operated parking meters, which would cost about $800,000 to replace, but “they aren’t serving the city well”.

    Mr Pearson said his team was gathering information on replacement options and would present its findings to the council at a meeting in August.

    There would then be some form of discussion with the public to get their ideas and feedback, he said.

    “But is that OK?”

    Reducing the number of coin-operated parking meters was one option, but “lots of councils” had already tried that and it hadn’t worked, he said.

    “If we don’t value our parking, if we make it free, then how do we make sure it’s enforceable?”

    Smartphone payment app options were being considered.

    Mr Pearson said he was trying to align potential smartphone app-paying systems with those used by other councils in New Zealand.

    This would enable an easier pay-parking process for people travelling between regions, such as tourists and business people, but this was easier said than done, he said.

    Some apps enabled users to switch on prepaid parking on their phones and then drive around and visit several shops. That way motorists “don’t need to pay a transaction fee each time, plus you don’t have to put coins in a meter”.

    However, “if you’re not smartphone savvy you can still visit a machine to pay”, he said.

    Number-plate recognition technology was another option.

    “Traffic wardens would be able to scan number-plates and see who’s paid and who hasn’t.”

    Frog parking systems (where a vehicle parked over a sensor) were already used in the Leven St car park and could be used elsewhere, he said.

    The issue of replacing coin-operated parking meters was first raised at a community services committee meeting on May 8 by Cr Lloyd Esler.

    In response to Cr Esler, Mr Pearson said council staff had planned to start replacing individual parking meters in 2019, but the timeframe might need to come forward.

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