MoCo Could Expand Smart Meter Program This Year


Montgomery County Department of Transportation officials hope to the success of a four-month "smart" parking meter pilot last year means money in the budget to install the meters permanently throughout downtown Bethesda. County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposed FY 14 Operating Budget includes $277,200 for the replacement of existing on-street parking meters with Single Space Smart Meters, the same kind the county tested out starting last March on Norfolk Avenue between Woodmont and Del Ray Avenues. The meters, from San Diego-based IPS Group, allow drivers to use their credit and debit cards at the machines and see parking rates, hours and time limits on an illuminated display. The meters use a solar-powered battery and will display how much time remains when a driver pays by cell phone. Drivers now must rely on their cell phones to know how much time remains if they pay through the county-chosen pay by cell phone application. The meters could also allow the county "the opportunity for future advances in performance pricing of parking based on demonstrated demand," according to the Parking District Services Budget Overview. The total recommended FY 14 Operating Budget for the Parking Districts Funds is $25,856,395, an increase of $425,638 or 1.7 percent form last year's approved total. Parking fees in downtown Bethesda range from 85 cents to $1.25 per hour and much of the revenue goes toward funding the Bethesda Urban Partnership, responsible for maintaining and marketing downtown Bethesda.

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