RENO — The city of Reno on Wednesday began cutting inches off parking meters that are too tall for short people.
It’s the latest setback in the Biggest Little City’s parking-meter woes that cost city coffers $600,000 in lost parking-ticket revenue when new kiosks didn’t work properly.
The city this month installed new “smart meters” that accept both credit cards and coins at an expense of $391,000. But there’s a problem: Short people can’t see the screens that show how much time they have purchased, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
“I need like a step stool for this, and I don’t carry a step stool in my car,” said Lisa Arteaga, a Reno native who stands a half inch shy of 5-feet tall. “I did appreciate I can use coins or my debit card. But I can’t see what the screen says, so I don’t know how much my coins are giving me as far as minutes or whatever instructions are on the screen.”
It also turns out that the meters don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
John Flansberg, Reno’s public works director, said at least one shorter resident called to complain about the inability to see the screen.
The city is cutting down the parking-meter posts so the top button is no higher than 48 inches, which meets ADA requirements, Flansberg said.
“It’s not that big a deal,” he said. “We’ll just cut down the pipe.”
Flansberg explained that the city tried to use as much of its existing equipment as possible to install the new meters. So the new meters were fitted atop posts and casings from the old meters.
But that jerry-rigging made the overall meters much taller.
“I guess we have tall people installing them,” Flansberg said. “I don’t mean to be flippant. We did get some information about the height they need to be at. We just need to drop the height down a little bit.”
That effort began Wednesday, and it takes about 20 minutes per post. The city has about 560 meter posts to shorten.
A city official estimated it will cost about $20,000 in personnel time to complete the job.