Parking meters, that scourge of New Hope visitors and residents alike, are going the way of the dodo on Dec. 15.
In their place on Jan. 2 will be 22 new “multi-space, pay-by-plate” electronic kiosks dispersed throughout the borough. From Dec. 15 to Jan. 1, metered parking spots in the borough will be free of charge.
The new kiosks cost $7,4oo each, bringing the total tab for the devices to over $163,000.
While the system has been under consideration for years, the sudden appearance of the holiday-wrapped kiosks on the streets of New Hope has raised questions among those new to the plan.
Here’s the Top 5 parking kiosk questions we’ve heard this week:
Why all the kiosks?
The borough is taking on the expense because it believes the system will allow them to better manage parking, including the ability to vary pricing in the future by zone for more control over usage patterns at peak hours and to generate additional revenue. Borough officials say they also believe the user interface should to be more up to date and convenient for visitors.
“We wanted to make parking as easy as possible so that people can come and just have fun,” explained New Hope Borough Council Member Laurie McHugh.
How do you pay?
After you’ve parked, simply walk up to the nearest kiosk, and enter the license plate number of your vehicle. Then pay for the amount of time desired with coins, bills or credit cards. That’s it. You don’t need to return to your car to place a receipt in the window.
But you’ll need to remember your license plate number on your way to the kiosk, if it’s not already memorized. Taking a photo of your tag on your phone is one way; merchants will also be distributing key chains in the shape of miniature Pennsylvania license plates upon which one can write the tag number.
Or bypass the kiosk system entirely, and pay for parking on your mobile phone through the ParkMobile or Pay by Phone services (probably where everything is headed in a few years). Phone apps let you pay remotely, get warnings when time is running out, and add additional time remotely.
Meanwhile, parking enforcement officers will be walking around, scanning vehicle tags with their current handheld devices to see whether the fee has been paid, or whether a particular permit is held. They can also access data from the kiosks to target vehicles whose parking time has expired.
Can I receive a violation for a vehicle I’ve just parked while I’m walking to a kiosk to pay?
Borough officials say that’s unlikely because with so many kiosks around, it shouldn’t take more than a few moments to reach one.
“As soon as you get out of your car, you should see a kiosk,” said McHugh.
Are parking rates going up?
New Hope’s leaders say they’re “not looking at a rate increase right now.”
“Hours stay the same, and rates stay the same,” McHugh confirmed.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be an increase down the road. In fact, a careful read of council minutes shows that New Hope’s leaders plan to eventually charge more to park on busy South Main Street, particularly on weekends, and that the goal is increased revenue.
Can more than one motorcycle still be parked in a single space?
Yes, but under the new system, each one has to pay. Previously, as many bikes as could fit in a normal car-sized space could park for the same quarter on the same meter.
“We value our visitors on bikes,” explained McHugh. “But the system is not per space — it’s per plate.”
And the dividing lines between spaces themselves could ultimately be a thing of the past. Why continue to divide the parking rows into standard-sized lengths? Let folks park where they can, and charge by tag!
“A decision on the lines is down the road, and we’ll probably try one section, and see how it works,” McHugh said. “We can always paint the lines back.”
All in all, an interesting experiment in addressing New Hope’s perennial parking problem. Please feel free to suggest any important questions we’ve missed in the comment section below.
I ran out of quarters. Went to get more, but, how do I add more time on existing timeframe? Tried it, calculated new time, didn’t work. Threw $1:00 away for nothing.
I wouldn’t rush to get rid of the lines defining parking spaces. As Lynn Samuels the late radio host used to often remind us “people are morons”.
Will the Parkmoblie app still be a payment option for those of us that prefer using 21st century technology ?
The hours on the new kiosks state they are longer.
Will borough residents get a discount through the app?
With the plate numbers, does the new system take state into consideration?
I think giving your License plate number is invasion of privacy.
The other way you just put a small slip of paper on the Dashboard.
I come to New Hope several times per month for LGBT(I’m Transgender) related events. It’s nobody’s business to know I’m in town.
I have been coming to New Hope since the 1980’s and patronize the shops and restaurants in town like Starbucks, Havana, Marsha Brown’s,The Logan and two places on the outskirts of town, The Raven and The Lodge across the street.
When I go into town for Dinner or Shopping…. it’s nobody’s business.
You tell us you’re in town when you park here —- we all can see your license plate as we walk by. The kiosk system does not broadcast your plate any more than you do by parking in New Hope. (Governments record your plate all the time when they ticket you.) No invasion of privacy at all.
I would like to see a full TOS and privacy discloser.Welcome big brother to New Hope.
Good going Council!!
Whoever designed the layout of the new kiosks should be fired or were they intentionally place to be so inconvenient. Each one is placed at the end of a street. Placement in the middle would have been considerably more user friendly. Example: one at the corner of Stockton Ave. & W. Ferry St. Next one at the end of W. Ferry, where it meets Bridge St., a very long block!