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City Installs New Depot Plaza Parking Meters That Accept Credit Cards

During a three month trial period, you'll no longer have to dig for quarters when parking downtown.

The Mill Valley Police Department has installed 30 new new solar powered parking meters that accept credit and debit cards.

The meters were installed on Tuesday and are working great, said police Community Services Officer Sheryl Patton. They're located on Throckmorton Ave. by the Depot Plaza and are part of a three-month pilot program where the city is renting them for $8 per meter. During the trial period the meters will be able to collect data on usage, which the city will then use to determine future parking needs in downtown.

"We've received several emails telling us that people are really liking the convenience," Patton said.

Input is welcome, and email info@cityofmillvalley.org or call 415.389.4100 to share your thoughts with the Mill Valley Police Department.

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Rico September 28, 2012 at 12:48 AM
I was wondering what corporation installed the meters and renting them out to the City for $8 for 3 months ? That is very cheap considering that the meters must cost a lot of money, and the installation could be quick an easy, but how many meters are involved in this pilot program ? And, these parking meters accept credit and debit cards, but they also accept coinage ? The reason that I ask that is I don't sport debit or credit cards, I only pay in cash. Could this be another marketing ploy to privatize the parking meter system and also to gather information from card users about where and how long they park in M.V ? Then, from the usage database they can deploy junk mail and spam on the people who use their cards in these new meters, and harvest and sell names to other junk advertisers ? This "privatization" thing is happening everywhere now, even with the MVSD having taxpayers subsidize Bain Capatal/New Horizons (Marin Day School) at the Edna Maguire School. What's next ?
Rico September 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM
OK, I missed the first part that said 30 meters, sorry. I would like the City of M.V. to disclose how many parking meters that they have, and what the weekly revenue is from those meters. I used to work for the City of San Rafael, and they had 4 routes (zones) of parking meters that the City collected around $10,000 per week out of, and that was 20 years ago ! I have read about disastrous affects of privatizing public parking meters in other cities, as well as privatizing highways. I think the public citizens should have more input in the decision making processes before the local municipalities automatically privatizing anything, just a thought.
Cate Lecuyer (Editor) October 08, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Hi Ricardo, I can tell you the city has 396 parking meters. I'm not sure what they get for revenue, but a recently formed ad-hoc parking committee is collecting data from the new meters and they're going to do an extensive study on how to proceed with parking downtown. They haven't made any decisions about the meters yet, but once an update on the data becomes available I'll be sure to find out about the current revenue to compare the different systems, and will keep the privatization angle in mind.
Rico October 09, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Thanks Cate, If M.V. only has 396 parking meters, and only 30 of them might be privatized, then the only reason to try this pilot program is to harvest names from people who use cards to pay for parking. I seldom patronize parking meters anywhere, but lets say that M.V.'s 400 meters collect $0.60 per hour for 12 hours per day. That would be $2,800 per day. I don't know the exact rates and amount of hours that they operate, but my estimate is based on all the meters being utilized at all working hours , of course there are gaps, so the revenue is probably much less than that. Then, we must add the overhead costs, the meter Molly , the coin collection and counting (those coins are HEAVY), and the maintenance like replacing bent meter poles etc., etc. The meter Molly alone must cost us taxpayers at least $750.00 per week, so when you get down to brass tacks, the metered parking in downtown M.V. is not a real big revenue stream. Now, in Sausalito, San Rafael and most other large cities like S.F. or Chicago, we are talking big money, that is where the private profiteers want to capitalize on. I would say that the only reason any private concerns are interested in M.V. parking is for harvesting information (names) , which they can easily sell for $1.00 each.

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