Newark adding solar-powered kiosks, ditching attendants in overhaul of parking system

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The City of Newark is adding kiosks in and around downtown Newark municipal lots as it phases out meters.

The conversion to kiosks – which accept multiple forms of payment, including a pay-by-smartphone app – will go online in the lot behind the Main Street Galleria in early September, and will continue to replace on and off-street systems through summer 2020.

Gone will be parking attendants and gates at city lots. Attendants will be able to apply for other jobs in the city, according to publishd reports.

The Digital Luke Cosmo kiosk stations will use a payment system based on license plate verification, rather than single-space meters. This enables visitors to pay from any kiosk, their phone, or with other payment options, including all major credit cards, quarters, and validations from participating businesses.

Visitors will be able to pay to park in half-increments. On-street meters will still use a 12-minute increment payment system.

“The new kiosks greatly enhance the parking experience in downtown Newark,” Courtney Mulvanity, parking supervisor for the City of Newark stated in a press release. “The planned changes include about 54 kiosk stations located around the downtown area, all on a unified system, which means guests won’t have to walk far to be able to pay for their car, or hike back to their vehicle to tend to a single-space meter, even if they don’t have a smartphone.”

Mulvanity added that, for patrons who use smartphones, the new system will allow guests to create a parking account with their vehicle information, and create a prepaid parking wallet if they park in Newark regularly. App users will also be able to receive a text notification from the app reminding them when their parking session is approaching expiration.

The kiosks are powered by solar panels, making them immune to power outages during storms or heat waves, and require less maintenance and repair. The need for gates will be eliminated in off-street lots, as patrons will be able to freely enter and exit parking lots.

The increased efficiency and lower overall cost of the kiosks will also allow the city to add more stations, resulting in the addition of 150 parking spaces around Main Street. The added reduction of off-street lot rates from $1 to 50 cents per half hour will keep Newark’s rates competitive with other parking options, the released stated.

“Nearby parking entities, including ones used by the University of Delaware, have been moving in this direction for some time,” added Mulvanity. “It has numerous technological and economic benefits. Being able to pay for parking while at dinner, in a classroom, or on the worksite is not only convenient to patrons, but will continue to make Newark a city that’s easy to visit and have fun in.”

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