Smart meters on the way for downtown Wilmington

By Tom Lehman 10:10pm, October 3, 2013 - Updated 1:57pm, October 4, 2013
Council members Hanifa Shabazz and Bob Williams discuss the smart meters.
Wilmington City Council voted Thursday night to approve 200 smart parking meters in an effort to make downtown parking more convenient.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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Council approved a one-year, $179,300 contract with Duncan Parking Technologies to buy and install the new meters.

Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz (District 4) said the smart meters won't require users to use coins. The devices, which will be located in her district, will accept credit cards and could potentially incorporate smartphone applications.

"It would also allow the city to monitor the real time use, operations and maintenance of the all the meters," she said.

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Shabazz, who also heads the Public Works and Transportation Committee, was included by the mayor's office during the request for proposals selection process. The smart meters will be located in her district.

The new meters will also be motion sensitive, a feature that Councilman Bob Williams said will prevent "piggybacking."

"As soon you vacate the space, it will recognize you're gone, it'll zero the meter out and start all over again," Williams said.

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The Williams administration, which calls the smart meters part of its RISE campaign, said the new meters are expected to be installed by the end of the month.

"Our smart meters will be far superior to the kiosk systems used in Philadelphia," said John Matlusky, the mayor's chief of staff in a statement. "I am confident both citizens and visitors to the city will have a far more user-friendly downtown parking experience."

Matlusky said the meters are expected to be installed by the end of the month.

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