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New parking-meter sensors put brake on bonus time

5:42 PM, May 21, 2012   |    comments
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In Denver, however, that feeling could be a thing of the past if a pilot program within Denver Public Works finds some traction.

The city is in the process of burying 500 sensors in its streets next to existing meters in an effort to make its fleet of parking meters smarter.

"Our goal is to turn over parking so we can get more people in the doors of any given establishment," Public Works explained spokesperson Ann Williams on Monday.

Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco already use the technology.

The sensors would, in essence, talk to the meter by informing it - and thus the city - when a spot has been filled or vacated. Once a driver leaves a spot, the sensor would tell the meter to reset.

"They will zero. So when a vehicle leaves, that meter - if it still had 30 minutes on it - would go back to zero," Williams said.

The sensors would also forbid motorists from overstaying the posted time limit on the meter.
Some people in Denver's Cherry Creek North neighborhood weren't exactly thrilled by the news.

"I think that's a crazy way to get revenue," said Kathleen Haley, who, along with her friend Jill Walsh, had just scored an extra 12 minutes on a parking spot next to the Cherry Cricket.

"I just think it's unnecessary," Walsh said.

Williams was quick to point out that drivers will eventually be able to take advantage of the technology.

"We're hoping we can get good information and bring that back to the people who are trying to park," she said.

For example, someone thinking about heading to LoDo could use a smartphone app to see where the available spots are at that moment.

Because the program is just in its infancy here, that technology isn't available yet, but it would be a viable option should the city like the results of this pilot program.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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