Newark approves expansion of smart parking meter program

By Tom Lehman 5:55pm, June 24, 2014 - Updated 9:42pm, June 24, 2014
Newark council members voted Monday to expand the city's smart parking meter program by approving a $326,212 contract to purchase 425 meters that accept credit and debit cards for payment.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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The agreement passed 5-1, with Councilman Mark Morehead (District 1) dissenting. Absent from the meeting was Mayor Polly Sierer, who's recovering from surgery after recently breaking her collarbone multiple times, said Councilman and Deputy Mayor Stu Markham (District 6).

Officials said 401 of the city's existing 457 parking meters will be replaced with new devices from IPS Group Inc., a firm based in San Diego that previously installed 20 smart meters on East Main Street as part of a pilot program.

The remaining 24 meters purchased through the contract would be set aside as spares, said City Manager Carol Houck.

Newark Parking Administrator Marvin Howard said the smart meters will make visiting the city's downtown area more accessible.

"Everyone carries credit cards, no one carries pocketfuls of quarters so it's going to make life a whole lot easier and convenient," he said.

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City officials plan to eventually allow those parked at smart meters to pay for additional time using a smartphone application. The feature will be implemented following the rollout of the new meters, which could begin as early as September.

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