City Starts Installing Smart Parking Meters

Installation started today.

The following press release is courtesy of the of Salem.


The City of Salem continues to move forward with making parking more convenient. As part of the City of Salem’s initiative to make enhancements to the downtown parking system, on Feb. 24 and 27, the City will install 50 smart meters. Smart meters add the convenience of paying by credit card while allowing people to still pay with coins.

Mayor Kimberley Driscoll stated, “After an intensive study and engagement process, last year the City Council approved changes to the downtown parking system. During that approval process, we heard from residents, customers, and shop owners who said they’d like to have more convenient payment options. As we move forward with implementing the system changes, we’re pleased to be able to test out these smart meters.”

“It is great to see the City responding to people’s request for easy to use, updated meters in the downtown. The new meters allow people to use their credit cards to pay, which is much more convenient than searching for change. Since only a few are being installed at various locations, people can test out the meters and give the City valuable feedback as to whether this should be implemented throughout the downtown,” states Jennifer Bell, Salem Main Streets Manager.

Richard Viscay, who chairs the City Parking Implementation Team, noted, “There are different types of parking technology available. We wanted to test the smart meters out before committing to them on a long-term basis.”

Viscay continued, “The goal of last year’s Council action is to create better balance in the parking system. The outcome we’re striving toward is to have one parking space open per block. That’s the sweet spot for on-street parking. As we work toward that outcome, we also want to respond to people’s desire to have convenient payment options.”

Viscay added, “We’ll be moving forward with implementing the rest of the changes later this spring. People told us they wanted more pricing options, and that’s what we’re providing.”

Changes that will be implemented later this spring include a new rate structure. Hourly rates in the parking lots and garages will be lower than the hourly rates for meters on the adjacent streets. In addition, lower demand areas, such as the South River area, will be priced less than higher demand areas, such as the northern end of downtown. For example, hourly rates in the garages will drop from $1.50 to $0.25 in the Waterfront Garage and from $1.50 to $0.75 in the Downtown Garage.

 In addition to the new rate structure, the City will offer a $25 monthly pass in several new on-street monthly zones. Viscay noted, “These low cost monthly passes are a great deal. We hope people who currently feed meters will see they can save hundreds of dollars a year by getting one of these passes. They’ll be able to save enough to buy an airplane ticket to someplace warm and sunny—and not have to worry about getting a ticket.”

The smart meters will be evaluated for 90 days. During that period, City personnel will evaluate the functionality and reliability. Personnel will also interview users about their experiences. The public is encouraged to submit comments to the Parking Department by sending an e-mail to parking@salem.com or calling 978 745-8120.

Melissa Levine February 24, 2012 at 07:12 PM
"Smart" parking meters do not create a "sweet spot" but rather pollute the environment with electromagnetic radiation which the World Health Organization last May declared to be a class 2b possible carcinogen. There is a youtube video by IrradiatedLife channel which shows the emissions from "smart" parking meters in San Francisco. Their system also uses "repeater," antennas mounted on light poles, which also emit radiation. The convenience of finding a parking space is not worth subjecting the public (including children) to a long term RF radiation experiment. Melissa Levine, StopSmartMetersIrvine.com
john February 24, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I would love to know what the cost of these new meters will be to the taxpayer and where do they plan on putting the replaced ones? Are meters at Winter Island in our future. Smart meters and computers for the council???????????????
ken February 24, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Please give us a break down on how much these cost, istallation, and oh yes, how much we are paying a vendor half-way round the world to run the system. Then explain to me what the advantage is to the City and it's taxpayers. Since the old ones took nickels, dimes, & qtrs there wasn't any inconvenience. This was the only way I could get rid of that change anyways. I resent the City losing revenue (which I will be asked to cover in taxes) because some people feel it would be more fabulous to pay by credit card.
Justin Mattera February 24, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I know this makes things easier, but wouldn't the money be better spent on fixing the deteriorating fountain on Essex Street?
john February 24, 2012 at 08:22 PM
The way this city is going,if they have any real value,they will be pulled right out of the ground.
gene February 24, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Why do other cities have one meter station to cover 10-15 parking spaces but Salem continues to clutter the environment with these meters? Time for a new parking clerk, one who has a brain!
john February 25, 2012 at 02:38 AM
The cost of the meters really needs to be answered.I did some internet searches and from what I found they are VERY expensive
john February 25, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Salem runs on one brain. The best example is the transfer station. Nobody should be allowed within 100 yards of that structure so how do they have a permit to operate? The building inspector is not doing his job. Why? Because the brain wants it open.
Mike February 25, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The upside of the new meters does not mean improved revenue for the City. Why switch? I can only believe these can be updated with higher tariffs easily. Otherwise, the parking committee just purchased the same old thing with a new shiny box.
Jared Robinson February 25, 2012 at 04:07 PM
that's a great idea. we already have the kiosks in two parking areas (that I'm aware of) we should do a single kiosk on both sides of Washington St. at the top and another pair at the bottom.
Erin Cyr March 13, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I am a 5 foot 4 inch woman, which is pretty much average height for American women. I parked at one of these meters yesterday (in the short term Church Street Lot behind the mall) and could not see the screen. I ended up having to stand on the bumper of my car and it turned out there was an hour and half left on it anyway. Is this the height these will be placed through out the city? Because people shorter than I will have a pretty serious problem using the machines. This is definitely something to consider.
William Legault March 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The city is working on shortening the height of the poles.
Darrell Bibby April 11, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Meter installation has begun on my street. I do not like it. I wish they left well enough alone. This new parking plan is going to hurt and I don't even own a car.


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