No small change for parking? No problemPosted: April 20, 2010
University of Georgia student, Samantha Connelly, struggles to find the change needed to ensure that she will not receive the $10 parking ticket for an expired meter.
“Sometimes it’s so frustrating trying to get together the change you need,” said Samantha Connelly. “I hardly ever carry loose change with me and have to plan to grab some if I know I’ll be parking downtown,” she said.
Connelly is not alone in her struggled search for change. The search is off because the City of Athens has installed new Pay and Display parking meters to help customers like Connelly as well as the businesses where she is likely to shop and eat.
The new Pay and Display parking meters were installed on Clayton and Broad Streets in January of this year. The stations have just recently come into use on March 22nd. These new pay stations will replace many of the former coin deposit meters that lined the streets of downtown.
The Pay and Display machines were installed partially to alleviate the problem of downtown business owners and customers not having correct change. Whether for work or play, patrons should be provided easier accessibility to parking in order to engage in a pleasant time downtown. These new Pay and Display machines provide patrons with the option of $1 bills, credit and debit cards as forms of payment, in addition to the usual spare change.
“We think it will be a real convenience for downtown customers,” said Kathryn Lookofsky, executive director of the Athens Downtown Development Authority. “So few people carry cash on them any more; they do carry credit or debit cards,” Lookofsky, told the Athens Banner Herald.
Another advantage to the new machines is that patrons can take the same receipt and use it in multiple parking spaces until the time expires. Cars can be moved to various parking spots throughout downtown as long as the time on the ticket is paid for and is still valid.
The new parking stations are eco-friendly, solar powered and easier on the eyes. Their sleek and modern look is similar to the Pay and Display stations that are currently in use throughout cities such as the beach on Tybee Island, downtown Savannah and Atlanta.
Each Pay and Display parking station will replace 10 of the inconvenient, outdated and irreparable parking meters. With 16 Pay and Display stations in place, 160 old meters will be uninstalled and removed from the streets of downtown Athens.
To date, the old meters are still standing but are no longer in use. They bare a sticker instructing patrons to visit the nearby Pay and Display station. The old meters are being replaced because the technology was obsolete, director of the Downtown Athens Parking System, Laura Miller, told the Red and Black.
While the way you pay may be changing, the parking rates are to remain the same. All metered parking spots are 50 cents per hour with a maximum rate of two hours. The exception being the sectored 36 minute meters, according to the Athens Downtown Development Authority Web site. The meters are monitored and restrictions are enforced Monday through Saturday from 8:00AM until 7:00PM.
The ADDA manages the Downtown Athens Parking System which includes 750 short-term, on-street spaces throughout Downtown. Additionally, DAPS is in control of four surface lots for monthly parking, and the College Avenue Parking Deck for hourly, daily and monthly parking.
The Pay and Display system is a joint partnership of the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government and the Athens Dowtnwon Development Authority. Additionally, Transportation and Public Works Street and Drainage Division assisted with the installation of the meters.
The convenience of the upgraded pay stations are appreciated by those who have previously struggled to find enough spare change. With the new process of parking payments, merchants can enjoy the ease and practicality found with the new pay stations.