The Quest For Modern Parking Meters

Feeding coin-operated parking meters Downtown is a big pain in the butt. Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration, following a campaign pledge, is looking to modernize the meter system that plagues visitors and businesses.

CT Post reporter Hugh Bailey has more on this:

Even as officials say they’re trying to improve the parking situation in downtown Bridgeport, some local merchants say the system needs more than tweaking–it requires a complete overhaul.

“It is a nightmare,” said Maria Gaspar, who manages Bijou Square Wine Shop on Fairfield Avenue.

She said customers routinely complain about overly eager meter enforcement staff and getting hit with $35 parking tickets. “We have customers who rush in and out because they know they’re going to get a ticket,” she said.

The Downtown Special Services District recently circulated a letter to area businesses asking that merchants and their employees use one of the three parking structures in the neighborhood, on Middle Street, behind the Holiday Inn; on John Street, near the intersection of Broad Street; or on Fairfield, Avenue near the intersection of Lafayette Boulevard.

Full story here.



  1. So this is kind of like a passion of mine.

    I even created a web page about in the wake of Hugh’s article and Lennie’s post about it.

    I enjoy the convenience of paying for parking wirelessly with my Parkmobile app in downtown Norwalk, New Haven (yes, New Haven, despite what Hugh’s story may otherwise imply), and Hartford. Even Middletown.

    But when I return to downtown Bridgeport, it’s back to the 20th Century. Quarters. I keep a compartment full of quarters in the dash of my car. For Bridgeport. I wince every time I use them.

    I don’t wince for me. I wince for how backwards it must look to visitors that this city, which brought so much innovation to business, now seems mired in the past. Let’s get out of this rut!

  2. This article reminds me what a pain in the butt downtown parking is. I was planning to check out Can Tin (restaurant) but I just might NOT! Downtown parking gives me indigestion. This letter from the DSSD really is no help whatsoever. And the ticket hounds are for real. I wonder how these other municipalities in CT paid for these meters. I would think with these meters, people may actually park for a longer time and in the long run bring in more revenue. And people may actually find it CONVENIENT to park in Downtown Bridgeport. I hope the Downtown merchants really keep up the pressure on the DSSD.

  3. Will the cost of using these new meters be passed on to the the paying public? New Haven charges $.25 per ten minutes after they installed these new meters.

    While at the courthouse to fight a ticket, I saw a parking enforcement officer writing tickets and I went over and put quarters in the meter for two individuals whose time had expired and was told by said individual I would be arrested if I did that again and I can’t put money on the meters for other people. Mind you now this was under the Finch admin and I was wondering if that is the policy of Bridgeport and their way of squeezing every nickel out of the paying public.

  4. Donald,
    You are a kind citizen to have the willingness and means to put up $.25 into a City meter for 15 more minutes that postpones a $35 ticket.

    Doug Davidoff,
    Happy that you raise the subject. There have been studies in the past of meter systems and indeed for awhile we (and New Haven) enjoyed the same system where a special Credit Card (for each City) could be loaded so quarters could be avoided. One of Bridgeport’s problems at the time was there were too few retailers downtown who could reload the cards for a downtown customer. Just postponed progress.
    Today why not get the history and see how things have changed.
    A review might include the necessary compensation for meter minders to hover over how many meters. Current compensation, plus health benefits, plus pensions, etc. to collect quarters and issue tickets. Seems if you had enough meters and electronic and communicating meters, you could cut some of the employee expense. And that might make a system worthy. And Doug, as you look out your second floor window, past the McLevy block that is metered for parking and see the next block by the side of City Hall. No meters. Two-hour parking. Who sees a ticket there when people park all day? Where else should meters be placed? Lennie, perhaps this is worth a survey. Time will tell.

  5. *** JOE, I don’t mind putting money into the parking meters downtown on Monday through Friday. However on the weekends Sat and Sun if you want people to visit the downtown stores, business and restaurants , etc. the city must not continue to enforce the parking meter violations! During the “work week” you see people downtown ’til about 6 to 8pm depending on the season and weather, but after that it seems to be just the folk who live in the downtown apts and area! On the weekend, after 1pm it’s like a ghost town and with $45 parking tickets for not having a quarter in the meter, it just helps chase visitors away! Place a one-year moratorium on the weekend parking meter’s enforcement in the downtown area to see if it does generate more visitors and also get an idea on just how little money is actually generated from the meters downtown on Sat and Sun. *** BUILD DOWNTOWN AND THEY WILL COME BUT DON’T CHASE THEM AWAY WITH $45 PARKING TICKETS OVER NOT HAVING A LOUSY QUARTER FOR A METER! ***

  6. I would like to find out how much they collect from these meters and as John Marshall Lee most astutely pointed out, there would be SAVINGS by getting rid of the ticket hounds. In this day and age of Uber, smartphone payments etc. it “should” be even easier to set up. DougDavidoff, this should be your pet project!!!


Leave a Reply