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What, Modern Parking Meters?!

July 6th, 2016 · 26 Comments · Development and Zoning

Ganim meter

Ganim introduces new parking meters. At right Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.

A day after overtaxed citizens’ anger meter blew out eardrums in City Council Chambers, Mayor Joe Ganim greeted a much more friendly meter that will modernize archaic parking Downtown.


Communications Director Av Harris has more on this:

Mayor Joe Ganim today joined business leaders to introduce new, state of the art parking meters for downtown Bridgeport that will greatly improve convenience of consumers and residents of the city center. The new ‘Smart’ parking meters technology includes a computerized screen that provides instruction in several languages and accepts traditional coin payments, as well as credit/debit card payments. The new parking meters also feature downloadable apps that allow the user to pay for parking via their mobile phone or tablet device. Using these apps, someone parking their vehicle in downtown Bridgeport could set up an alert on their smart phone for when time on the meter is running low, and more parking could be purchased using the phone.

“This is a huge step forward for parking in downtown Bridgeport that is frankly long overdue,” said Mayor Ganim. “Through introducing this new technology into our city, we are going to dramatically improve the customer experience for anybody doing business in downtown Bridgeport, and anyone that lives here. No more will people parking cars in our city need to worry about if they brought change with them that day, or run out to fill the meter. We are finally entering the 21st century for parking in Bridgeport and we hope this will attract more people to move downtown and more businesses to open here. This will make a major positive impact on the quality of life and I am so happy to introduce this new technology.”

Paul Timpanelli, President of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, said, “We have been dealing with the problem of parking in downtown Bridgeport for almost thirty years. The business community is very proud and pleased that Mayor Ganim and his administration are finding a creative, 21st century solution to this problem. This is a majestic step forward for Bridgeport that will make it easier for customers and residents to find parking downtown and that will help businesses grow their customer base and may even lead to more investment in this crucial part of the city.”

Michael Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District, said “These new parking meters will help improve convenience and the parking experience in downtown Bridgeport. We will soon be adding hundreds of new housing units to this part of the city, and these new meters will have a positive impact on the new residents of downtown as well. We are grateful for Mayor Ganim’s leadership in making this new technology a reality.”

A showcase installation of three new parking meters have started operating in downtown Bridgeport on Broad Street between Bank and State Streets at no cost to the city. The meters have been installed by the company Municipal Parking Services, Inc. and the contract to manage the new parking meters has been awarded to LAZ parking. Bridgeport Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Gina Malheiro, attorney Ronald Pacacha of the City Attorney’s Office, and mayoral aide Thomas Gaudett are responsible for managing Bridgeport’s conversion to new parking meter technology.

The city is still in negotiations with the contractor over the exact details of the financial arrangements for collecting and distributing revenue from the parking meters, with a likely outcome being free installation of more parking meters, with Municipal Parking Services earning revenue on parking fees collected above the projected baseline level. These parking meters have been installed and are successfully operating in cities such as Boston, MA, Hartford, CT, Poughkeepsie, NY and a number of other municipalities throughout the country.

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Gyure

    Too bad these meters will not be used much as businesses leave the City of Bridgeport.

  • WFlores

    Does anyone know if there was a bidding process for this?

  • Frank Gyure

    LENNIE GRIMALDI, CAN YOU PLEASE WRITE AND POST WHAT JOE GANIM IS DOING TO THE CITY LIBRARY?

  • Dave Walker

    Typical politician. Focusing on quarters rather than tens of millions!

  • Mojo

    *** Let’s give these new meters a chance, no? They seem to beat what downtown has on the streets now where you need quarters or you’re out of luck! OIB bloggers need to not be so negative concerning every political issue or idea that comes out of City Hall. After all eight years of Finch as Mayor had plenty to bitch about, no? ***

  • Frank the Cabana Boy

    Let’s spend money on parking meters! Seriously? Insulting to TAXPAYERS IN BRIDGEPORT. TAXPAYERS.

    • Marshall Marcus

      The article clearly states these meters were installed at NO cost to Bridgeport. No contract has been awarded fro additional meters, this is a sample installation.

      I have used these meters in Hartford and find them much more convenient than having to search for quarters. Having the charges appear on a credit card statement allows for better tracking of business expenses and eliminates the ‘no receipt’ issue for employees seeking reimbursement from employers for parking expense.

      And before you attack me for living in Trumbull and commenting on this. We own and pay taxes on a property in Bridgeport.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Marshall,
        The meters are a good idea for lots of reasons. Downtown meters were reviewed for several years in the Finch years. No ultimate action. As you state, big cities in CT and elsewhere use them to advantage. Why not Bridgeport? Why only three demonstration meters in place? Why not a visit to other cities (assuming you did not know about how they function) and full disclosure of the dollars (revenue and expense) and sense (other City savings in terms of meter collections, services, etc.)? Time will tell.

      • Bob Walsh

        The contract to manage the new parking meters has been awarded to LAZ parking.

        The city is still in negotiations with the contractor over the exact details of the financial arrangements for collecting and distributing revenue from the parking meters, with a likely outcome being free installation of more parking meters, with Municipal Parking Services earning revenue on parking fees collected above the projected baseline level.

        So Marshall, what do you mean when you say no contract has been awarded? The contract to manage the meters has already been awarded to a business partner, LAZ Parking.

        So the only thing that has yet to be determined is will the city pay for the installation or will Municipal Parking pay and collect a commission?

        Done deal and in three years when the public is up in arms about the cost of parking in order for all these companies to make money and up in arms because tickets are being written in nanoseconds due to the technology, then people will be asking why weren’t we told up front.

        • Marshall Marcus

          My comment refers that no contract has been awarded refers to the installation and cost of meters and revenue sharing. The contract with LAZ is meaningless until such time a contract for installation of meters is awarded.

          I don’t know the bid process in Bridgeport. Here in Trumbull the RFP would have to have been published in both newspapers and on the town website. The winning bid is also posted for public view. Would not a resolution to approve the contract with LAZ been published in a CC agenda and public would have had the opportunity for comment before a vote?

  • Frank Gyure

    RIGHT. OIB bitchers complained about Finch. Now we are even worse off.

  • Maria Pereira

    I don’t know how press conferences are conducted in Trumbull where Gina Malheiro lives, but it is generally considered disrespectful to conduct a press conference wearing sunglasses. Brett Boner used to do it also and I thought it was rude when he did it too.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Well, now I’m beginning to see some daylight in Bridgeport’s economic picture! And to think I’ve never been willing to give Paul Timpanelli and the BRBC credit for farsighted, out-of-the-box thinking!

    Well, I’m certain now the dark days of downtown Bridgeport are over and it will soon be an economic engine leading Bridgeport’s way back to prosperity!

    Why, who knows how many millions of diners, shoppers and revelers it will draw into the city once they hear about the fantastic opportunities to pay for metered parking in Bridgeport?!

    Look out Fairfield! You have absolutely no metered parking with which to compete against Bridgeport. Soon all of your downtown crowds will just be passing through on their way to dine and shop and party in downtown Bridgeport, just so that they can take selfies using our new meters (in various positions and paying by credit card) and post them on Twitter and Facebook. (Wow! This could be the next Bridgeport “Frisbee.”)

  • The Phantom

    Does anyone on this blog know the Finch administration outright refused to put modern meters in this city and why? Because it (was) a cash business. No paper trail. Same can be said about the parks, where young kids handled thousands of dollars on busy weekends and simply handled it over to their bosses. No paper trail.

    • BOE SPY

      No, because it will take forever to pay off the cost of the new meters. Installed for free?? Yeah, sure. Wait until the other shoe drops. If a car were parked in that spot 24 hours a day, every day, how much could a meter make? This sounds like the solar panel scam. The meters will cost BPT somehow. The old meters were fine. They worked, were durable, dependable and paid for. The new meters are a little better but unnecessary. Wait until something happens to this high tech, electrical BS. Like it gets wet.

  • Bob Walsh

    Not to mention nobody parks downtown.
    One of the biggest beefs in the past was that businesses did not want people parking at a meter all day. It hurt business because customers couldn’t find a parking spot.
    Now we have done a 180 and we want people parking in the same spot all day because they can use their app to keep buying more time.
    Come on guys, can’t someone get the story straight?

    • DougDavidoff

      Bob Walsh, your comment is out of touch with reality. Lots of people park downtown. It is not the abandoned Mad Max Thunderdome wasteland you paint it to be.

      On several blocks, there is often competition for parking spaces. Which blocks? The following come to mind:
      – Fairfield Avenue between the Conn. 8/25 northbound ramp and Main Street.
      – Cannon Street between Lafayette and Broad.
      – John Street all the way from Water to Lafayette.
      – Bank Street north of McLevy Green.
      – State Street between Merkle and Courtland.
      – Main Street between Bank and Golden Hill.
      – Middle Street between John and State.
      – Broad between HCC/Library and Fairfield.
      – Lafayette between State and Fairfield (where meters exist, which is not often enough)
      Yes, the app can keep a user buying parking all day. But ordinance requires a two-hour maximum at most meters. So while the software may allow an all-day stay, I presume it can be adjusted to limit paid stays to just two hours. This is a software coding or dashboard issue, Mr. Walsh. Nothing to be wringing your hands over. Easy stuff.

      I look forward to the same convenience in Bridgeport I have seen with Parkmobile and other parking apps in New Haven, Norwalk, and other cities in Connecticut and elsewhere. These apps are tested and proven by thousands of users.

      Neither you nor the city has a completely straight story. But the city story on balance, Bob Walsh, has a far higher percentage of coterminal points of reality-based logic than your story offers.

      • Marshall Marcus

        I often pay to park at a meter when visiting the courthouse on Main Street. In Harford, I do the same on Washington St. If I think a visit to the clerk’s office to file a paper or pick up a document will take about 30 minutes I prepay 1 hour. The smart phone app is great if the line is long or service slow. I can buy an additional hour up to the two-hour max allowed in the zone. The software does not allow purchase of time that would make me a meter repeater. That would be a violation subject to a ticket. IIRC most municipalities with meters have regulations that make you move the vehicle a minimum distance to a new space after the maximum legal parking time period.

  • Bob Walsh

    So Joe is lying to us again? OMG!!!

  • Bob Walsh

    The first place Joe is going to install parking meters is at City Hall. This way if 300 – 400 angry taxpayers show up to vent again at least he will make money off parking fees and tickets!

  • Mojo

    *** Let’s always look on the “sunny side of life,” no? ***

  • John Marshall Lee

    Got to use one of the meters today. Got to visit City Hall where the person I sought was out for lunchtime. So I went over to the Library to do some research on the City and Jasper McLevy. Then met with Doug Davidoff in McLevy Park. Then saw the man I wished to see walking back to City Hall. Met him 20 minutes later and never worried about quarters, time on the meter, etc. Used my card, for two hours, and accomplished some good learning. This could have been happening years ago, but bad habits set in and if meter cash collections are or were a part of leaking revenues in the City as some aver, then we can see why the status quo perpetuates. Time will tell.

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