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New downtown parking meters caught up in supply chain issue, too

4 months 3 days 15 hours ago Tuesday, February 22 2022 Feb 22, 2022 February 22, 2022 6:39 PM February 22, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - For quite a while now, replacing the downtown parking meters has been on the parish's to-do list. The project has gone out for bid three times and about a year ago the Metro Council approved the execution of a contract with Flowbird to provide parking equipment.

Currently, parking meters downtown Baton Rouge take coins and some require you to turn a lever to operate. In other locations, there is only a pole where a meter once stood on top of. The parish knows they could use an upgrade, but it's taking way longer than originally thought.

"Like the rest of the country, we're caught up in a supply chain issue," Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel said. "We just can't get the equipment in right now."

The timeline continues to change. Gissel says they were promised equipment in December but now the guess is that it's four-five months out from arriving. Even then it isn't set in stone. That's why a contract hasn't officially been signed yet. Gissel says if the new timeline doesn't happen the parish will have to readdress where they are.

Right now, the meters bring in about $400,000 a year and that money goes into the city's general fund to pay for things like salaries, equipment, and drainage. The technology is so old that if one breaks, it's hard to find someone who can make repairs.

Of the meter-less poles around downtown, the City-Parish says that's the revenue it's missing out on.

"Without the meters, people have a tendency to park at a meter and stay all day," Gissel said.

The new meters would be much more convenient and allow people to either swipe a credit card or pay by app, which many cities already have. People parking downtown wouldn't have to worry about having spare change to park their cars.

The new meters would be for about 900 spaces downtown. It would raise the hourly parking rate from 50 cents to $1 an hour.

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