New Hope Borough will add three additional parking kiosks, along with additional signs directing motorists to kiosk locations, to address complaints about difficulty finding and using the devices.
The parking kiosks replaced analog meters on Jan. 2 in New Hope, and while many visitors and local businesses have welcomed the change, others have voiced dissatisfaction with the new system.
New Hope Borough Council President Alison Kingsley acknowledged that the transition has not been without its challenges.
“Change is hard for people, but overall, I think the number of negative comments in the total scheme have been pretty minimal,” she observed. “The biggest complaints are from people who got a ticket — ‘I mixed up the numbers I entered for the license plate,’ for example.”
The new kiosks require the user to enter their license plate number, but displaying a paper receipt on the vehicle is unnecessary.
“Parking enforcement officers have been adjusting to the changes, and thats a challenge,” said Kingsley. “In the first week, the enforcement officers were really sent out as ambassadors to explain to people how to do it, so if anything, they wrote warning tickets.”
The devices also don’t dispense change when currency is used for payment, instead converting any extra amount into additional parking time.
“Some say ‘I put in a $5 bill and didn’t get change,’ but it says right on the machine it doesn’t give change,” Kingsley said. “People don’t take enough time to sit in front of the kiosks and ask questions.”
But the council president indicated that visitor complaints about difficulty locating the kiosks are being addressed.
“The [early January] weather prohibited us from pulling all the [old parking meter] posts, and adding new signage,” Kingsley explained. “When you get out of your car, you typically don’t have to walk more than five spaces to find a kiosk, [but] new directional signage between the kiosks has started going up.”
“Some people say they’re hard to find at night, so there’s going to be a white light at the top of the [kiosk] post so you can see them down the street,” she added.
The borough will also be adding three additional kiosks at a cost of $7,400 each to address underserved streets.
“One will be on West Ferry Street, one on Waterloo Street, [and] one on South Main Street near John and Peter’s,” explained Kingsley, who believes the new system offers substantial advantages.
“If you travel anywhere in the country, this isn’t something other people haven’t done way before us, but we’re cleaning up the streetscape, and we’ve gotten 325 pieces of metal off the street,” she said. “The sidewalks are narrow to start with, and this makes it easier to use it safely and efficiently. The amount of time it takes to maintain and collect from 325 meters is [much greater than] the 25 meters before.”
And despite the unanticipated challenges, Kingsley said the borough was already reaping some rewards.
“Revenue appears to be equal to or above the average for January, so we haven’t lost any parking revenue,” Kingsley observed. “We only had the coin option before, and now 58% of money going into meters is by credit card, and 18% by bills.”
“By the time spring comes, I think people will be used to it,” added Kingsley. “We’re looking forward to it being a real benefit to everybody coming to town and walking the sidewalks, businesses because they’re not shelling out quarters, public works because it minimizes time collecting and maintaining, and ultimately a benefit to the borough.”