Dubuque City Council approves second smart parking meter pilot program

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - For the second time, the city of Dubuque is going to test out smart parking meters.

A smart parking meter on Main St. in Dubuque in 2018 during the city's first pilot of the technology. (Allison Wong/KCRG)

The Dubuque City Council approved a pilot program on Monday night, with opposition from council member Brett Shaw. Dubuque first had a smart parking meter pilot in October 2018 with a company called MPS.

Transportation Services Director Renee Tyler said this new pilot will be done with a different company called IPS Group, Inc. She said she wanted to try a new company to be better able to compare available options.

Tyler plans to install the meters in the 700 and 800 blocks of Main Street. She chose this area because there's a high volume of people parking there. The meters will allow users to pay for parking with coins, credit cards, or by phone.

The city will also set utilize kiosks for street parking and in parking lots. Kiosks cover multiple spaces and allow users to enter their license plates to pay for parking.

Tyler said this pilot will go for at least 90 days, with no cost to the city for the first 60 days.

"It's giving our citizens more control to understand what the smart parking tools look like and to have an opportunity to actually utilize them," Tyler said.

While councilman Shaw understands the convenience of these smart meters, he also believes they will be alienating.

"I think that it's really written for a people who are fluent and technically savvy, and that becomes a smaller portion of our population," Shaw said.

Shaw also believes this could affect low-income people in Dubuque because tickets will be given out more efficiently. He'd prefer to do away with all parking meters.

Tyler hopes to start the pilot program in January 2020.