A project to modernize village parking by beginning to shift to phone-based payments, which was stalled during the earlier parts of the pandemic, is again receiving attention around the Village of New Paltz board table. At the August 10 board meeting, Mayor Tim Rogers recounted that regulating parking impacts the success of local business owners, by discouraging car owners from using public streets as vehicle storage.
Pandemics notwithstanding, making changes to the village’s parking systems is complex. In addition to the mechanical and electronic meters available street-side in some areas, there are payment kiosks in some village lots. Whether a kiosk makes sense is limited by how far drivers are expected to walk in order to pay for a spot. In an effort to simplify payment for people who have the privilege of either a credit or debit card, village employees have been researching mobile payment options for those also privileged enough to have a phone. They ran into barriers that included extremely permissive privacy policies, and the need to download a particular app just to pay, but now they are close to finalizing approval of a text-message-based system instead. That payment platform, as well as the software powering the kiosks and the parking-ticket printers carried by the enforcement agents, all have to integrate with the village financial software. Rogers believes that the many moving parts will move in concert once connected.
The new mobile payment service will feature text reminders when the time nears expiration, which could minimize need for those parking-ticket printers. Users will be advised that it’s time to move the car, or pay remotely to extend it.