VENTNOR – The city has incorporated a virtual option for parking meters located in various commercial areas in the city.
The city is using the contactless ParkMobile app to allow motorists to pay their parking fees using a smartphone instead of feeding coins and credit cards into a meter.
The city has been working to implement the changeover for months and it took a while to implement because of the numerous commercial districts and parking areas.
The system is up and running in several areas and signage instructing motorists how to use the app has been posted in parking meter areas, and the city has embarked on a public information campaign to educate motorists about the switchover.
“It will be a great advancement for reducing costs and increasing usage,” Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Kriebel said.
Chief Financial Officer Al Stanley prepared a list of the benefits of using the mobile app.
He said it would reduce the costs associated with repairing broken meters. The city spent more than $70,000 over the last two years to replace broken meters. Using the app will also eliminate personnel costs associated with enforcement.
Also, there are costs that can be saved when employees have to appear in court for violators who contest summonses because they say the meter was not operating properly.
Public Works Supervisor Ed Stinson said the technology on about 40% of the city’s meters is being phased out and about 100 meters would have to be replaced. Using the app will eliminate those costs, he said.
“It’s a smart move financially,” said Mayor Beth Holtzman, who is also Commissioner of Finance. She called the switch a “win-win.”
Holtzman said revenue from the meters helps to offset taxes.
“It’s efficient, easy to use and gives you a heads up when your time runs out,” Commissioner Lance Landgraf said.
Use of the app is optional in business areas where motorists can still utilize the parking meters using coins or credit cards. The newly refurbished public parking lot on Newport Avenue between Atlantic and Ventnor avenues will not include use of the app because it has a brand new kiosk system, Kriebel said.
“It wasn’t cost effective to do it there,” he said.
The kiosks at beach parking areas on Newport and Suffolk avenues have been removed and will use ParkMobile exclusively.
Kriebel said the app will prevent beachgoers from taking up spaces for hours and encourage turnover in commercial areas.
“I can tell you in summer, it’s impossible to park,” said resident Marlon Migioia, who lives on Ventnor Avenue across from the professional plaza on Troy Avenue.
She said she contacted neighboring business owners who have ideas about improving parking to share with commissioners, including the possibility of going with a permit system like what the city offers in the North Beach section, she said.
Kriebel said change is difficult and there will never be a “silver bullet” to solve parking problems in shore communities.
“The entire city is at capacity for 100 days that we all have to live with,” Kriebel said, “unless you live in the Heights.”
The ParkMobile app that’s used in Atlantic City, Ocean City, and was recently implemented on Amherst Avenue in neighboring Margate, is available on iPhone and Android devices and can be used anywhere there is signage announcing it is available.
Motorists can download the app to their smartphones, register their tag numbers and credit card information. When parking in marked ParkMobile areas, enter the zone number on the meter or sign, select the amount of time needed and press the “Start Parking” button to begin the session. Users will get a notification when time is about to expire and can extend time if necessary.
To facilitate enforcement, police will have use of a companion app notifying them when paid parking has expired.
The parking fee in Ventnor is $1.50 per hour in all metered areas. Time limit is 12 hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in all areas except S. Newport Avenue where there is a two-hour parking limit.
For a listing of all metered parking areas, see https://www.ventnorcity.org/news/post/14899/
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