CLEVELAND (WJW) – Parking throughout the city of Cleveland is about to get smarter.
Starting later this week, signs are expected to start going up around the city displaying different “zones.”
By next week, the city could start something council and the mayor’s office have wanted to do for a very long time — phasing out the old coin parking meters and replacing them with smart parking.
“One of the biggest complaints I get from folks, and they will say, ‘hey, you know it’s a hassle to come downtown because I always forget my quarters and I don’t want a parking ticket,’ so this just really streamlines the process and makes it easier and more predictable,” said Councilman Kerry McCormack.
The technology is not new. The company with which the city is doing business, ParkMobile, has existed since 2008. Some of the other cities that use similar parking technology include Columbus, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Miami.
“You will pull up to a parking spot like you always will and eventually there will be kiosks on the street. So if you still want to show up with your quarters or your dollars, you can do that, but if you don’t want to, there will be a credit card reader at that kiosk. Also, there will be different zones where you can pop open your phone, you can download the park mobile app and just pay directly on your phone. It will be very easy to park in downtown Cleveland and throughout the city,” said McCormack
The technology will also let people know on their phone when their money is running out.
“If you are in a zone that permits it, you are sitting at dinner downtown, you are not going to have to run out and, ‘oh gosh did I put more quarters in?’ It will push a notification right on your phone that says, ‘hey you have got fifteen minutes left,'” said McCormack.
Using something called “dynamic pricing,” the city will also be able to remotely adjust the price of parking during peak events.
During concerts, ballgames or other downtown events, the city can adjust the parking fees up to $8 an hour downtown and $5 an hour outside of the downtown area.
The city says that helps them compete better with private parking lots which charged as much as $100 per vehicle during last year’s Guardians playoff appearances.
Daily parking at meters and for city lots and parking garages was recently increased by city council.
But the standard rates are $1 per hour, maximum session of two hours unless otherwise stated on posted signage. Institutional areas are $0.75 per hour, maximum session of four hours unless otherwise stated on posted signage.
And it can do more.
“In Ohio City, one of the challenges that we face is the houses that abut West 25th Street, they get a lot of spillover from the commercial district, so what they do in Columbus that we will be able to do here in Cleveland, you will actually be able to get residents a code so they will be able to park for free on the street. But if you don’t have that code, if you are a visitor, you pay for parking,” said McCormack.
The city will be starting with the downtown area and will be moving outward from there.
“Hopefully within a matter of weeks you will be able to just go on your phone, but then over time we will be replacing the quartered meters with the kiosks,” said McCormack. “So really it’s opening up parking to different technologies and making it easier and more accessible, and that’s key.”