RED BANK PICKS NEW PAY-TO-PARK SYSTEM

A video explaining the multi-space pay technology that will replace single-head meters, like the one below, in the English Plaza lot.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s “time expired” for racing to beat a $38 parking ticket in downtown Red Bank, officials said Wednesday night.

Say hello to “multi-space, revenue controlled” parking technology, complete with cellphone interactivity.

Fulfilling a pledge made by Mayor Pasquale Menna two years back, the borough council awarded a contract for a yet-to-be-determined number of pay stations that will, among other wonders, send visitors texts when they’re in danger of being ticketed and allow them to extend their stays from the comfort of a restaurant.

Oh, and for the town? A sweet spike in parking revenue, with an accompanying drop in enforcement and maintenance costs, says an executive at vendor Integrated Technical Systems of Wallingford, Connecticut.

After reviewing six bids, the council opted for Luke II machines, made by Digital Payment Technologies, which will cost the town about $12,000 each.

Borough officials said the expense would be borne by the town’s parking fund, holding more than $500,000, money collected over the years from new businesses that were required to dig deep when they couldn’t provide sufficient parking – a requirement that’s now in moratorium.

The pay kiosks will be rolled out as early as next spring in the parking lots at English Plaza, Maple Cove, Marine Park and White Street, said council president Art Murphy. “We’ll get a consensus” on how well they work before additional machines are purchased for metered streets and lots, he said.

The technology is the same used by the City of Asbury Park, which has about 100 of the kiosks, Joe Yorlano, director of sales at ITS, tells redbankgreen. Similar machines are used at the Little Silver train station, and a pilot program is underway in Long Branch, he said.

Red Bank, he said, opted for a pay-by-parking-space system. Each space will be numbered, and a visitor has to enter that number at the time of payment, which can be made with cash, credit card, smart card, or an online account with a third-party vendor.

There’s no need to return to your car to place a receipt on the dashboard, Yorlano said, because the record of the transaction is available wirelessly to the town’s parking enforcement arm.

The machine’s manufacturer boasted recently that parking revenue in Asbury Park soared 60 percent on the installation of the machines,and Yorlano says gains of 30 percent and more are common. One big component of that, he said, is the elimination of “piggybacking,” which now occurs when a paid spot is vacated and taken by another motorist.

“With the multispace system, everybody who parks, pays,” he said.

The system also allows towns to dramatically cut costs, he said. Enforcers no longer have to check individual meters. Instead, they have a digital readout showing which spaces are no longer paid for, and can ticket accordingly.

“There’s also a lot fewer machines,” he said. “In a 70-space lot, you might need just three or four installations,” reducing maintenance expenses.

And while the cost per unit is high compared to single-heads, “municipalities are turning to this concept because the payback analysis is usually in the range of nine months,” Yorlano said. Towns can even sell ads to run on the LCD displays, he said.

Red Bank RiverCenter executive director Nancy Adams said the downtown promotion agency’s member businesses are “thrilled that there are going to be more choices for shoppers, so they don’t have to run out of lunch or a meeting” to feed an expiring meter, and can instead extend their stays via cellphone text.

“It jump starts us into a new century,” said Menna, who recently signaled his intention to have a parking deck built at the White Street lot when he said he would appoint up to three experts in the field as advisors on January 1.