Still haven’t memorized your license plate number? Now’s as good a time as any.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority is moving forward with the second phase of its “pay-by-plate” parking kiosk expansion, poised to become the norm throughout Center City and University City by the end of the summer following a successful pilot, PPA Executive Director Scott Petri announced Tuesday.
The PPA began installation of 1,600 new, solar-paneled kiosks in the fall, concentrated around Arch and Race Streets between Fourth and 12th Streets, an area selected in part for high volume.
The one difference, as the PPA continues the expansion, is the use of bigger solar panels on the kiosks to handle capacity, Petri said. A third phase will follow installations outside of Center City and University City.
“The only, if you want to say, negative was that the transactions were so high, it was running through the battery, and I don’t consider that a negative; I consider that a positive,” Petri said of the fall rollout. “It just simply means that we need a larger solar panel to handle the volume to keep the batteries charged.”
The method requires drivers to enter their license plate and parking zone, and while there’s no longer the need to display receipts on the dashboard, drivers can opt for a printed or texted receipt. The machines take debit and credit cards as well as coins, but not paper bills. The MeterUP app is still available for use.
In the interim, drivers should stay on their toes — procedures will vary throughout the city, where they’ll still find coin-operated meters and the kiosks requiring a ticket to be displayed.
The new kiosks are made possible through a $10 million investment with France-based Flowbird Urban Intelligence. PPA is moving to swap 1,110 10-year-old kiosks, as well as 8,416 coin-operated meters.
The PPA has been in touch with Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability to potentially turn some of the coin-operated meters into bike racks, Petri said.