BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The new smart meters that will become operational in downtown Bridgeport this week will make it easier to pay for parking — with credit card, cash and mobile app options, Mayor Joe Ganim said.
Trenching, electrical work and other logistical and infrastructural changes have been taking place on several downtown Bridgeport city blocks in preparation for the meters to start working.
By the end of the week, two dozen of the new meters will begin working, Ganim said. When the work is complete, a total of 111 state-of-the-art parking meters in the central business and government district downtown will be fully operational.
“This long-overdue change to make downtown Bridgeport more convenient for residents, consumers and businesses is happening just in time for the holiday season,” said Ganim. “After months of work, we are seeing these new parking meters become operational and consumers and businesses will see the benefit."
The Smart Parking System will provide a host of benefits, including making parking payments easier and more convenient. The additional meters will control 203 parking spaces in the Downtown Special Services District area. The meters will be payable with cash and credit cards, and a mobile app to pay for parking remotely is also downloadable.
"Consumers will be able to pay for parking with coins or a credit card," Ganim said. "There is also a mobile app you can download that allows you to pay using your phone and that even shows where there are parking spaces available in downtown Bridgeport, saving valuable time."
Key Smart Parking System features include:
- Wayfinding that includes the ability to find open Smart parking spaces with the mobile app, eliminating the need to wait for spots to open up or driving around searching for a spot, and reducing congestion and greenhouse gases.
- Flexible payment options including coin, credit and debit cards, and mobile payment using the “MobileNow” application available on IOS and Android phones.
- Public safety features including 911 call button, community service messaging, including weather alerts, local news and merchant promotions.
- The meters have large, high-definition touch screens.
Connecticut-based LAZ Parking is the vendor that will manage the new parking system. The technology was developed by the firm Municipal Parking Solutions, which will provide the technical support for them.
Complus Data Innovations Inc. will oversee violation management and collections. LAZ, MPS and Complus will work jointly to provide a managed parking solution for all city parking meters.
“Bridgeport is on the leading edge of cities that understand the value of advanced parking technology that’s simple to use and convenient, and can provide ease of use to their citizens and local businesses," said Joe Caldwell, chief executive officer of MPS. "Everywhere around us technology is enhancing our lives--parking should be no different.”
The convenience of multiple payment methods requires that smart meter violations be mailed. Before mailing, LAZ personnel will review the meter violations to ensure that they are validly issued (e.g., at a broken meter, at an inaccessible meter, where the coin box is full, etc.) Violations will be mailed a few days after the meter captures them. The new parking meters have a grace period of five minutes before a violation is recorded. Parking Enforcement Officers will continue to issue paper tickets on the city’s older meters.
LAZ and the Downtown Special Services District will use mobile “ambassadors” in the area of the new smart meters to explain how they work and to answer questions for a preliminary period.
LAZ will also have a downtown office at 333 State St. where tickets can be paid and other parking information obtained.
Local parking ordinances remain the same: The hours of enforcement are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Parking is free on Sundays and Holidays.
The City decided to move forward with the smart meters after it completed successful trials of the technology on Broad Street during the past few months.
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