Winooski Plans to Revolutionize Parking

By Alex Rose

Published 08/14 2014 10:34PM

Updated 08/14 2014 10:38PM

Winooski, Vt.-  Gone are the days of rushing back to your car to check the meter. The city of Winooski is trying to overhaul its entire parking system.

“It's not paid by space like it's traditionally thought of,” said Director of Winooski Public Works Peter Wernsdorfer. “You don't have to go back to your car."

If approved by the city council, the Department of Public Works plans to install these machines in areas across the city, including the parking garage.

If you're parking in Winooski, you may not see the old-school meters in a couple of months. The new system will be able to do everything electronically with your smart phone, and if you don’t have a smart phone, you can still pay for parking the old fashion way.

“You'll still be able to pay with coins,” Wernsdorfer said, “We'll take debit or credit cards.”

By punching the numbers and letters of your license plate into the system you won't have to walk back to your car and put the receipt on the dash. Parking enforcers will know you have paid.

The city hopes this will reduce tickets.

“The council charges us with reducing tickets as part of this and I think as far as the customer experience, there should be fewer tickets,” said Winooski City Manager Katherine Decarreau.

The customer experience is enhanced by your smart phone.

“You can ask them to call your cell phone and tell you you're almost out of time, and ask you if you need more time, and you do your own individual point of sale,” Wernsdorfer said,

The third party system will refill your time upon request so you're not rushing back to the meter.

With 229 street parking spaces, and about 1,000 in the lot, the city will need to adjust the specialty spaces to fit into the system.

Down the line, Peter Wernsdorfer says they could adjust the rates based on how busy parking is.

“We have no baseline data, so we're going to roll out the system, spend about a year collecting the baseline data and then see what they tell us,” Wernsdorfer said.

Wernsdorfer also says revenue from this project will go towards developing the parking system, which could mean more spaces.

This system does mean an end to the free two hour parking spaces, and will be a big money generator for Winooski.

Public Works says an app could be in the works in the future. It would make the process even more user-friendly so you could refill your parking time remotely.

The idea will be proposed at a city council meeting Monday, and if passed the city will buy the machines the next day.

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