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Help City Of Seattle Choose Next Generation of Parking Meters

Most of us know the drill: You walk up to one of those green parking meters on the street, put in your change or a credit card, and it spits out a little sticker for your car window. Those machines brought in $37 million last year.

But the city of Seattle says it’s time to upgrade those 10-year-old machines, and it wants the public’s input in choosing the next model.

SDOT: Try The Machines, Give Us Feedback

Credit Seattle Department of Transportation
A map from SDOT shows the locations of the new parking pay stations.

The Seattle Department of Transportation placed a handful of new meters along Fourth Avenue between Stewart and Bell streets. They want drivers to try them out, then fill out an online survey with feedback. 

Mike Estey, SDOT’s manager of parking operations and traffic permits, says the department has received plenty of feedback about the current machines.

“They can’t communicate or process transactions as quickly as newer technology, and as fast as we’d like them to be able to for customers,” he said.

How Much Faster Are These Machines?

We’ve all been there. It’s raining. You put your card in and select the amount of time you need to park. Then you wait. And wait. And wait.

The city hopes one of seven different meters it’s testing will give customers a better experience.

So how much faster will the new machines be? During a very unscientific KPLU test of three random machines (the IPS Freedom, the Parkeon StradaPal and the Digital Luke II), the process time ranged from 1 minute and 20 seconds to 1 minute and 52 seconds.

Those times are marginally faster than the old green machines, but the city says the upgrade in technology is major, and will pay for itself in a couple years.

Florangela Davila and Gabriel Spitzer contributed to this report.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.