October 21, 2013

Portland installs more parking pay stations

People on the street give the new machines mixed reviews

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Jim Krebs of Portsmouth, N.H., who works in Portland at the University of New England, uses his credit card to pay for parking at one of the city’s new parking kiosks on Middle Street Friday afternoon. Krebs said he’s used to the kiosks because they’re everywhere in Portsmouth, and are much easier when he’s not carrying cash.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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A parking receipt from one of the city’s new parking kiosks sits on the dasboard of a car parked on Free Street Friday afternoon.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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This month, the city is installing 36 machines along Commercial, Congress, Cotton, Dana, Exchange, Federal, Fore, Market, Middle, Pearl, Preble, Spring and Temple streets. The second phase will cost $315,000 and include 314 spaces, he said.

The third phase, to be done in 2014, has yet to be approved or funded by the City Council. It would add 37 machines for 355 spaces and would complete the installation of kiosks in targeted areas downtown and near the University of Southern Maine campus, Peverada said.

The fourth phase would happen in 2015 and focus on the Bayside neighborhood, if the council approves.

Bob Ker thinks the pay stations are a good idea. He is co-owner of Find, a secondhand clothing boutique on lower Free Street.

Ker said customers have expressed frustration in the past about dealing with the meters in front of his store.

“I think people will be more likely to stop now,” Ker said. “Meters are tricky. You need to find the right spot and you need to have coins.”

Darcie McElwee, an assistant U.S. attorney, used coins at a new pay station on Middle Street because she had them Friday. She said she’s glad to have the option to use a credit or debit card, “but I don’t like having to walk back to the car to put the ticket on the dash.”

Catherine Lo and her daughter, who live in Portland, put coins into the machine on Middle Street.

“I miss the serendipity of finding time left on a parking meter or leaving time on a meter for someone else,” Lo said. So when she returned to her car with 26 minutes left on her ticket receipt, she passed it to someone else.

On his way to visit an Old Port gallery, John Donnelly of Freeport used his debit card at a new parking kiosk on Temple Street. In his car was a “bucket of quarters” he keeps for meters.

“I’m old school,” Donnelly said, “but this is fine.”

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:kbouchard@pressherald.comTwitter: @KelleyBouchard
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Additional Photos

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Betty Jo Holden of Elton, La., puts quarters in one of Portland’s new parking kiosks on Free Street Friday.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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This former parking meter on Temple Street in downtown Portland tells patrons to use the city’s new parking kiosks, which are being rolled out across the city.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Darcie McElwee, who works in Portland, removes a receipt from one of Portland’s new parking kiosks.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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