New parking meters going up in Downtown Salisbury

In an event to draw public attention to the city’s new parking meter system, City Administrator Julia Glanz uses a sledge hammer to bring down an aged meter. Top right, new kiosks are being installed that will allow for easier payment options, including paying via a smartphone.

With a swing of a sledge hammer, Mayor Jake Day knocked down a parking meter Downtown this week, symbolizing the end of paying for short blocks of time, then rushing back to drop in more coins before the expiration flag pops up.

Instead, the city is installing pay stations, so visitors and shoppers can buy time using credit or debit cards, coins or cell phones.

During installation, it will be free to park Downtown until Nov. 26.

“It’s our way of thanking citizens for bringing their business Downtown during the holiday shopping season. It’s also a way for us to offer a down period as folks become acquainted with the new system,” Day said at a news conference on Tuesday morning.

“We’re bringing parking into the 21st century. We’re eliminating visual clutter and we’re improving customer service. We’re saying, ‘This one’s on us,’ all the way through Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25,” he said.

“We believe our Downtown businesses, our Downtown residents and our Downtown shoppers have been through a lot in the transition as we rebuilt Main Street. We recognize that and we want to do everything we can to make it easier on them,” Day said.

He explained how to use pay stations, by pressing the start button, entering the license plate number and inserting coins, credit card or debit card. Time can also be paid for by using a smartphone.

The app, Whoosh, is available from the app store.

The city’s parking staff will distribute information about the pay stations and businesses will be supplied with rack cards to give customers.

“Now, you don’t have to get up from the restaurant. You don’t have to get up from the barber chair. You don’t have to leave your reading in order to re-up your meter. You simply pay once. You can re-up from your phone, wherever you are,” the mayor said.

During the first phase of the transition, 106 meters will be removed from the west end of Downtown, including those in Lots 4, 11, 12 and 15, as well as on-street parking on Church and Market streets.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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