VIDEO: Smart meters debut in Wilmington

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Wilmington becomes a little more visitor friendly.

WDEL's Carl Kanefsky explains.



A credit card and a smart phone will soon be as important as a stash of quarters for people looking to park in Wilmington.

Smart meters began appearing on downtown streets on Monday, in an attempt to make things better for people coming to spend time in the city.

"If I couldn't find quarters, because I didn't want a $40.00 ticket, I'd just drive off," says Mayor Dennis Williams. "And if I had to drive five blocks away to find a parking space, I'd say, 'you know what, I might as well just go to the mall.'"



The meters will accept coins and credit cards, and phones will eventually be able to be used to add time remotely. Williams says the meters can provide a budgetary boost for the city, without employing what he calls "I got you fees."

"Expanding businesses, bringing new businesses in, bringing new people in, getting our population at a higher rate, where you have more people coming in the city, living in the city...I think those are the creative things that you have, that you don't depend on traffic tickets and parking tickets," Williams said.



Williams himself snapped the first of the 200 meters into place, saying not having to carry a pocket full of change, could bring more positive change to Wilmington.

"If the parking is convenient, and you can come in and swipe your card, and have a parking space instead of running around and looking for change, I think it's very essential, and I think it's going to work, the mayor says." And you know, in the very near future, we're going to spread these things, I'm quite sure we're going to have more than 200 meters after a while."



The plan is to have 200 meters online in the city by the end of the week.







Copyright © Nov 24, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
Advanced permission from Delmarva Broadcasting Company required for publication or rebroadcast.