At the Traverse City Commission Study Session last night, staff members of the TC Downtown Development Authority (DDA), which administers the city’s parking system, presented short- and long-term solutions to ongoing parking problems.
Part of its long-range plan to streamline public parking services includes a meter pilot project.
“We are increasingly asked why we don’t accept credit cards at meters,” Bryan Crough, executive director of the DDA, told commissioners.
The DDA is investigating the idea of converting parking meters to “smart meters” that would accept credit and debit cards, in addition to cash. Smart meters reduce theft and collection costs, Crough said, and rates can be easily adjusted. “If we do go down the road to smart meters, they not only allow you to accept credit cards, they also give you real time and let you know what kind of activity you have at that meter.”
A network would need to be in place to support the credit card-accepting meters, and Wi-Fi is the cheapest option, according to Rob Bacigalupi, deputy director of the DDA.
“Wi-Fi is the least expensive and why it’s being looked at in terms of parking,” he said.