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Council to Vote Tonight on Rate Hike For Nearly All City Parking Meters

NBPA Seeks to Double Prices on Some Streets to Pay For Credit Card Meters and Pay-by-Phone System
Credit Card Parking Meter
New parking meters that take credit cards were installed earlier this year on College Avenue. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The price of metered on-street parking will increase between 20% and 50% if the City Council approves a law scheduled for a vote this evening.

The New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) says it wants to implement the rate hike to pay for new parking meters that will take credit cards, as well as a system that will allow for credit card payments via telephone at any meter.

The new meters will cost approximately $500 each.  Additional revenue will go to pay for new contracts and fees associated with processing credit cards.

"We incur credit card fees and service fees.  This increase would help offset that," Executive Director Mitch Karon told the authority's board last week.

O-081302 was accidentally put on the council agenda at their August 21 meeting, officials said.  The council declined to hold a required hearing and instead tabled the ordinance, scheduling it for a hearing this evening.

Karon said there was a "little mix-up as far as how it was presented," saying it was not posted properly on the agenda for the City Council's August 21 meeting.

Instead, Karon will attend tonight's City Council meeting to answer questions about the proposed hike.  Members of the public will also be given the chance to make comments or ask questions on the new proposal before the Council takes its vote.

The meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6:30pm on the top floor of City Hall, 78 Bayard Street.

Under the new law, a quarter would not buy nearly as much parking as it once could at some meters.  If approved, rates would double to $1 per hour, or 25 cents for each 15 minutes, on the following streets: Bishop Street, Easton Avenue, French Street, Handy Street, Jersey, Jones Avenue, Joyce Kilmer Avenue, and Little Albany, Morris, and Suydam Streets.

Where existing rates are already $1 per hour, meters would increase to $1.25 per hour under the new law, meaning a quarter will only get parkers 12 minutes.  Those rates would affect meters on Baldwin Street, Church Street, College Avenue, Dennis Street, Elm Row, and Hamilton, Huntington, Liberty, Morrell, Neilsen, Paterson, Richmond, Senior, Sicard, and Spring Streets.

Portions of Albany Street, Bayard Street, George Street, Livingston Avenue, New Street, and Somerset Street fall into both categories, but the rates uniformly increase citwide with only one exception: a set of meters near a taqueria on Bayard Street.  The rate there would remain 12 minutes for 10 cents, or 50 cents an hour.

Approximately 60 parking meters on Seminary Place were recently removed to allow the street to temporarily become a two-way road to keep construction vehicles off of College Avenue during a major redevelopment project.  Karon says the meters will return in three years.

Currently, about 150 of the city's 1,000 on-street meters accept credit cards, and the authority plans to roll out another 20 additional meters this month, before instituting a public bidding process for the rest of the city.

Even without new equipment, Karon said that the pay-by-phone service expected to launch later this month will allow anyone with a working cell phone to pay for parking with a credit card, and add more time to their meter via text message.

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