Managing parking is a constant struggle for cities, especially those that grew up before virtually everyone got everywhere in a car.

Too little parking, and your city becomes a difficult place for people to live, work and visit. Too much — yes, you can have too much — and valuable property is lost to more-profitable development.

There are few levers available to municipalities in this area, but Portland deserves credit for doing what it can. Earlier this year, the city changed its planning code to allow developers to pay a fee in lieu of building new parking facilities.

That money would be used to finance alternative transportation programs to reduce the number of stored cars in the city and trim the number of parking spaces that need to be built. But the more visible impact for most people will come from a new kind of parking meter, which will start being installed next summer.

Instead of the familiar coin-chomping device, drivers will go to what looks like a vending machine that accepts bills or credit and debit cards as well as change. It will spit out a receipt that the driver posts on his dashboard.

These machines, in wide use around the country, will take a lot of the stress out of urban parking. A driver won’t have to fumble for change or risk getting a ticket while running errands.

The city will have a device that may initially cost more but would be less expensive to monitor and maintain.

Combined with more-frequent buses and remote parking options, these meters could help Portland make the best use of its assets.