San Diego installs ‘smart’ parking meters downtown

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SAN DIEGO -- The city of San Diego is installing around 200 “smart'' parking meters beginning this week that will accept credit card payments and track usage of spaces.

The devices, which cost a total of $3.8 million, are replacing traditional single-space meters that only accept coins, according to the office of City Council President Todd Gloria.

“Bringing smart parking meters to San Diego was on the short list of things I wanted to accomplish during my tenure as (interim) mayor, and I know San Diegans and visitors will notice the improvement this week upon their installation,'' Gloria said.

“San Diego is a city of innovation and people here should not resort to the antiquated practice of searching for coins for parking meters,'' he said. “With more user-friendly parking meters, customers will be able to more easily patronize the small businesses throughout downtown, Uptown, and Mid- City, contributing to the economic development of our city.''

About 97 percent of San Diego's parking meters are being replaced, according to Gloria's office. The devices use the city's existing meter poles, making installation easier and preserving useful current infrastructure.

The smart meters are being installed first in the Gaslamp Quarter, with other areas of downtown to follow. The meters will be installed in the Uptown and Mid-City areas early next year.

“I don’t know anyone who carries cash or change on them anymore … everyone just has credit cards so it makes it a lot easier," said San Diego resident, Amanda Soloman. “It's a terrific upgrade for the city.”

When installation is complete, the city plans to start a pilot project to let customers pay via their mobile phones.

Data from the meters will be used to guide the future policies of the city and community parking groups, Gloria said.



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