The days of fishing through your pockets and cupholders for loose change to pay for parking may soon be gone as city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to replace downtown parking meters with a pay-by-plate system.
City council introduced the idea of switching to this new technology nearly a year ago, and are hoping to make the shift to an app-based parking system as early as June 24.
Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier was given approval by his fellow councillors on June 11 to waive notice on a motion to approve the new parking system that looks to better the city's ability to enforce parking time limits.
"We'll be enforcing something that we weren't previously able to," said Cormier. "The parking meters have a two hour limit on them, but people could just keep going back and feeding their meters and park there all day."
When the idea of changing the parking system downtown was introduced last July, the plan was to stick with a two hour time limit, but that was bumped up to a three hour limit on Tuesday night.
"We want to accommodate those who need a little bit more time," said Cormier. "We found that our two hour limit was below the average time limit in a number of cities. Say someone has a doctor's appointment and they put two hours in but their appointment is taking a bit longer, they can go into the app and add some more time."
Not a smartphone user? Not to worry, as there will be fixed machines installed throughout the downtown, meaning users can pay at the machines by cash or credit card, in addition to their smartphone app.
"Having a three hour limit will encourage people who need to park for the day to use our parking lots," said Cormier.
The city hopes to roll out the new parking system by June 24.