Patience Expires, Future Of Parking Meters In Limbo

Scott Fischer
This t-shirt from Scott Fischer, owner of Jerry’s Printing Downtown says it all. From Facebook page of school board member Maria Pereira.

Oops. Days after Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration unilaterally reduced the Downtown fine and extended the parking duration to four hours for the automated meters following ear-splitting complaints, the City Council Monday night said hold on a minute, you need our authority and by the way we want an installation moratorium until we figure this out.

What was supposed to be a marketing bonanza of modern meters for Downtown, replacing the antiquated coin-operated dinosaurs, has turned into a monstrous toothache of expired patience. The meter maelstrom started months ago when Downtown patrons received a $40 ticket for not executing a transaction within five minutes of pulling up to the electronic meters. No meter signage warned them.

Rob Matthews, an officer with Municipal Parking Services that shares in the meter revenue with the city acknowledged Monday night “We could have done a better job informing people of the plans and consequences” of not feeding the meters.

CT Post photo

The city has posted a Q&A on its website including a usage tutorial related to the meters. But subsequent actions to repair the cranky rollout leaves the meters in limbo.

More than 50 people attended the City Council meeting Monday night, many of them to express frustration.

Retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez who has exposed meter policy flaws and Kelvin Ayala, who manages Moe’s Burger Joint Downtown, are among the city residents pressing the city for meter reforms.

The future of the meters has been referred to the City Council’s Ordinance Committee.



  1. Unfortunately the time to demand changes was BEFORE they were installed not after.
    Once again an asleep City Council approves the language in the Ordinance, does not require a parking commission, does not require a parking hearing officer to be defined by ordinance and then asks for a moratorium.
    And then they will eventually give in to Ganim’s demands and try to save face,
    A joke. A sick joke.

  2. Bob,
    Correct as far as you went, though perhaps it would be well to hear why a Parking Authority might work for taxpayers, businesses and the City in that order.
    It appears that the CC continues a bad practice. Vote before all of the information, including fiscal projections and histories, contracts with providers of services, and full details of rollout plans have been seen, reviewed and questions answered. “Just vote, we can get the rest of that stuff to you later,” seems a more familiar refrain.
    No good explanation of how the Mayor was not present at 7:00 PM following Public Comments, presided over by Eneida Martinez because Denese Taylor-Moye was momentarily incapacitated, and Tom McCarthy was at a conference. Public speaking ends, Denese is getting attention and the audience sits there expecting a hearing on the meters. Who is in charge? Calls were made to the Mayor who finally arrived an hour later. He convened the Council meeting and moved through the items quickly. Several times he seemed to mutter, “So you want a hearing?” but no one answered from the worthy, within the gated chamber and no one moved in the audience. So Ganim2 chaired the hearing.

    Judge Lopez had requested info through FOI and got some including a fiscal worksheet showing the past three years. The biggest gain was for LAZ, the parking consultant. The other firm providing services for years also gained. Overall the City, through meter fees and violations did not seem to see gains.
    However between April 30 Financial Report and June 6, 2017 the date of the OPM financial, almost $175,000 was received by the City in that five week period.(In the previous 10 month period they were running about $100,000 per month. So there was a 50% increase!! What a business model. And it was only implemented 50%. Do we need a closer eye on anything the City does with respect to money? Time will tell.

  3. My firm’s clients are now hesitant to do meetings, lunches etc. with us here in downtown Bridgeport. So we meet with them in Norwalk, Fairfield, anywhere but Bridgeport. 5 minutes late getting back to the car = a $40 “welcome to the park city” letter in the mail. I got one myself, and obediently paid the fine. Now that the city is admitting that the meter situation is FUBAR, will my fine be refunded? The meters are a disaster.


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