When students return from winter break, parking downtown won’t require them to go fishing for quarters any longer.
The first floor of the McAllister Parking Deck, Allen Street and Beaver Avenue parking lots will be updated to a single kiosk, where parking patrons will be able to pay for parking using coins, bills or credit cards.
“The new kiosks will be easier to use and more convenient to use,” said State College Borough Parking Manager Charles DeBow. “Other cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and even smaller towns have implemented them and have been fairly successful.”
A parking patron will enter their license plate number into the kiosk and then pay with whatever way it is convenient to them.
DeBow said the Borough Council approved the parking meters at its Oct. 1 meeting.
The new kiosks can also be used with a cell phone, adding a number to the meter, and a text alert will be sent notifying how many minutes are left on the meter, DeBow said.
While the text alerts may be more convenient, it could come at a cost.
DeBow said it will be an extra $0.25 added on to the parking fare to receive a text alert.
DeBow said the new kiosks and meters will be put in place between now and January, but will officially turn on when students return from winter break.
“We usually try to implement changes when students are away, where there is less demand and not as much confusion,” DeBow said.
Borough Council President Don Hahn said that the meters were proposed a few years ago, but are finally being put into place.
“Accepting a wider range of payments will be an advantage for people who want to find parking downtown,” Hahn said.
Hahn said he hopes people will be open to the new changes because it can be a positive step for downtown.
Hahn is “apprehensive, but optimistic” for the parking lot changes.
Council member James Rosenberger said the new meters will have many benefits.
“It can save labor because people will no longer have to collect coins and will be more convenient so no change will have to be carried,” Rosenberger said.
Rosenberger also said parking enforcement would be improved because scanning license plates and matching them to the number entered in the kiosk through technology will also add flexibility.
Rosenberger hopes that in the next year a kiosk will be added to the lot adjacent to the Schlow Centre Regional Library so that parking will be available after hours.