Smart meters in downtown Albuquerque: The answer to parking woes?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s often a headache to try and park downtown, with old meters malfunctioning. Now, drivers will soon see the city’s newest plan to fix that.

Out with the old, and in with the new; the City of Albuquerque will soon install 550 new smart meters to fix parking woes.

“That sounds like a good idea, I mean getting up with the times,” said Kristin Padilla, who lives in downtown Albuquerque.

Drivers in downtown Albuquerque will soon see a change when it comes to paying for parking.

KRQE News 13 has reported on some of the headaches people have encountered with old meters over the years.

“Sometimes it’ll suck up your change, you have to use your card, then you use your card and it says out of order and it’s just a total pain in the butt,” Samantha Rasinski told KRQE News 13 back in September, 2015.

Now, city officials plan to replace old multi-space meters and install 550 new single space smart meters. Installation will begin Downtown.

The new meters accept debit and credit cards, as well as cash or change. But what makes them even more efficient, according to city officials, the new meters are solar powered.

According to the San Diego-based company, IPS Group, they’re also more customer friendly.

“It is a relief. I see people at the meters pretty often trying to pay and you know, it’s not working for them,” said Padilla.

The City of Albuquerque tested the smart meters in a pilot program in Nob Hill and East Downtown. Officials now say that pilot program was successful, so the plan is to add more.

The cost of this project is estimated at $475,000 for meters and installation. According to the City’s Department of Municipal Development, the new meters will save the city energy and maintenance time.

The high tech meters will be able to send information wirelessly to the city.

Eventually, officials drivers could pay for parking with an app on their smart phone.

“Most people have smart phones so quicker, easier, that’s what it’s about is efficiency,” said Padilla.

The new meters will also be able to notify parking enforcement when time has expired, as well as track traffic.

The City of Albuquerque may consider raising rates during peak times, or when there is high demand for parking in a certain area.

Albuquerque currently has about 800 of these smart meters in operation. The new ones are expected to be delivered within the next two weeks, and installed in the two to three weeks that follow.

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