The current parking meters in the village of Herkimer could be replaced with multi-space parking machines if the village board moves ahead with a plan presented at a meeting Tuesday.
Gregory F. Frary, of Ber-National Controls, Inc., of Syracuse, and Justine Godderis, of Digital Payment Technologies, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, were on hand to propose a new system they said would be more efficient and bring in more revenue for the village.
Frary said instead of having a meter for each parking space, multi-space meters would be placed on each street. The motorist could insert coins or use a credit card to pay for parking.
Under a pay and display system, the motorist would receive a receipt which he or she would display on the windshield of his or her car.
Godderis said there could be a transition as machines could be modified to be used as a pay by space system or a pay by license plate system where the motorist enters the license plate of his vehicle into the machine rather than displaying a receipt.
Frary said he visited the village on Feb. 7 to look at the current parking meter system.
“I didn’t see the hours posted anywhere,” he said.
Village Trustee Anthony Brindisi said the hours were posted on the meters themselves and at the entrances to the village.
Trustee Katherine Nichols said the meters are in effect from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Frary said he was on Albany Street at 9:44 a.m. and checked the meters to find about half of the people who had parked in metered spaces had not put money in the meters. He added no matter what kind of parking meter system the village has, it will not be effective unless it is enforced.
Frary suggested the multi-space parking machines be installed in a top priority area first and the old meters from those areas be moved to replace missing or broken parking meters. The priority one area could be West Albany, Mary, Court and North Washington streets. He recommended 14 machines be installed to cover this area so motorists would not have to walk a long distance or cross the street to use the machines. Later, new machines could be installed on North and South Main streets, Park Avenue and Green Street.
Among the advantages of the new system would be that motorists could not “piggy-back” by parking at a meter with time left on it, Frary said. Also, parking would not be limited by the current number of spaces which are sized to fit larger vehicles. Eliminating the present parking meter poles would make it easier to clear the sidewalks of snow, he added.
The machines could be paid for with a lease to own plan, said Frary.
Page 2 of 2 - He said the village could expect to bring in an additional 30 percent in revenue under the new system. “That’s a conservative estimate,” he said.
Frary said he was told the village had been collecting about $2,000 to $2,500 each week from the meters prior to a vandalism incident in January 2010 that destroyed some 43 meters.
“Now you’re getting $2,000 every three weeks,” he said.
Frary also recommended the village consider increasing its parking rates from the current 25 cents an hour. He handed out a list of parking rates for various cities ranging from 50 cents an hour in Skaneateles, Auburn and Binghamton to $1.25 an hour in Albany and Syracuse while in New York City the cost for parking in commercial zones is $2.50 an hour.
“Those are cities, this is a village,” Nichols pointed out. “We did a business survey and increasing the cost from 25 cents would be a hard sell.”
“Statistics show that if people want to come to your downtown, they’re going to come,” said Frary.
Mayor Mark Ainsworth asked if the number of streets in the first priority area could be reduced.
Frary said he did not expect the board to act on his initial proposal.
Board members also wanted more information on maintenance fees.