Posted at: 01/31/2014 7:10 PM
Visiting from Eveleth, Shelby Paulson isn't all that fond of parking meters.
In downtown Duluth, Paulson said "I don't love them...I don't generally think about having quarters with me."
Paulson is in luck. The next time she visits downtown Duluth, she could have a much wider range of payment options - other change, dollar bills, or even a credit card.
According to Duluth Parking Manager Matthew Kennedy, pay stations will replace meters as soon as next week in part of a four month trial happening on the 300 block of West Superior Street. Kennedy said the trial is free, but if the city decides to keep the pay stations, they're about $10,000 each.
There are already 13 similar pay stations scattered across the city, including several in Canal Park, he said.
So what's wrong with the meters now?
"The existing quarters-only meters sometimes present us with a conundrum," Kennedy said.
If drivers can't find quarters, Kennedy said they choose not to pay and risk getting a ticket, or getting back in the car and moving it to a parking lot or ramp.
The technology is new, but the cost to park isn't changing. It will still be 20 minutes for every quarter you pay. However, paying does take longer. At a pay station at the Depot, drivers are required to enter a license plate number. At the new stations downtown, drivers will type in a parking space instead.
Jarrod Wood, visiting from Londsale, Minnesota, told Eyewitness News that he prefers parking attendants. They give you change, but the pay stations do not. Not one to carry cash, Wood likes the credit card option. But he said "the simple quarter machine is probably easier than all the buttons and the technology."
The city wants input from drivers on the new downtown pay stations. Whether they stay could be up to you.