City meters to accept credit cards for 90-day trial evaluation period

Grace Johnson

The city of Evanston installed new parking meters last week that now accept credit cards.The 41 meters are located downtown for a 90-day trial period on select stretches of Sherman Avenue and Davis Street. The trial period will allow parking officials to evaluate how the meters last through the winter months, said Parking Systems Manager Rickey Voss.

Possible issues that could occur from weather problems, especially during the winter, include dead batteries and ice buildup, Voss said.

Though the meters have a time limit of two hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., drivers can now park their cars for up to four hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The new four-hour limit in the evening was extended to help restaurant and local business owners who often lose patrons when they are forced to add change to the meter or move their cars, Voss said.

“We always look at different technologies, how to improve our performance, how to improve our customer service,” he said. “This is just another piece of the puzzle.”

Beyond the help to business owners, the meters’ acceptance of credit cards could help ease the stress of drivers digging for change.

“As a student I use most of my change for laundry,” said Tina Mamalis, a Weinberg junior. “It’s definitely a scramble to find enough change to park, and then I end up driving around looking for a space without a meter, but I know I would always have my wallet with me so it would be very convenient to be able to pull out my credit card.”

While the meters may be easier for users, they won’t make the work of parking officers any easier, Voss said.

“You still are going to have enforcement issues,” he said.