Beginning Monday, March 11, the hourly rate at all downtown meters will increase from 50 cents to $1, the first meter rate increase since 1995. After the rate change, city-owned parking garages will be the cheapest downtown parking option.
Lincoln began installing 1.340 new "smart" parking meters downtown on Wednesday.
Duncan Parking Solutions arrived in Lincoln Feb.19 and has been programming the meters for each location and testing their use for credit cards and coins. Duncan Solutions also had to replace and install new retainer plates in order for the new meter mechanisms to fit in the meter housing. The new meters will be solar-powered and programmable and will accept credit, debit and pre-paid parking cards and dollar coins in addition to dimes and quarters.
The City maintains about 2,300 parking meters downtown. The new meters will be installed generally in the area bounded by 7th, 16th, "M" and "R" streets. New meters also will be installed in the Haymarket lot north of "O" Street and on 14th and "W" Streets on the UNL campus. Some of the meters will be multi-space meters.
The new Liberty brand meters from Duncan Solutions cost about $500 each and another $6,000 for management and training. The expense is covered through the city parking fund, and no general fund tax dollars are being used.