The Las Vegas City Council on Feb. 20 gave the green light to installing multi-bay parking meters in the downtown area.
The council voted 5-2 in favor of a $1.4 million contract with Parkeon for the meters. About 233 multi-bay meters are slated to replace 1,216 single-space parking meters beginning this summer, according to city officials.
Michael Cornthwaite, who owns the Downtown Cocktail Room, 111 Las Vegas Blvd. South, said the meters could help the area’s image with customers.
“The worst parking experience for guests is a parking ticket as a result of not having change for the meter,” Cornthwaite said in an email. “New meters that accept credit cards could help a lot. Hopefully, it will result in guests that are happier and more comfortable with the paid parking dynamic of our city center.”
At the cost of $5,695 each for the new meters, the city expects to pay roughly $1.4 million, taking it from its parking enterprise fund, separate from the general fund.
“I think this is really progressive,” Mayor Pro Tem Stavros Anthony said during a council meeting Jan. 23. “I don’t know how old those meters downtown are, but they belong in a museum.”
Each new meter will service between four and six parking spaces and accept credit and debit card payments in addition to coins.
Bills will not be accepted, as that technology would have added an additional $3,000 expense to each meter, according to city parking services manager Brandy Stanley.
The meters will run entirely on solar energy, feature a 7-inch color screen with a map of downtown and motion-activated lights.
Of the 12 bidders for the project, the international company Parkeon was chosen by city staff members. Parkeon manages more than 3 million parking spaces in more than 50 countries, according to its website.
In addition to the 233 new meters, the plan also calls for the permanent removal of 125 metered spaces throughout downtown, increasing the amount of free parking options for motorists, according to Stanley.
The council initially postponed addressing the meter issue, spurred by concern over the system’s reliance on cellular service ; the meters’ credit and debit card transactions are made over a cellular network.
Ward 3 City Councilman Bob Coffin and Ward 1 City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian urged the council to delay a decision for a month to sort out contractual concerns.
“We don’t want them to take the best price on cellular carriers and find out the meters don’t work in downtown,” Coffin said. “We need to know what we’re getting into.”
Bill Smith, a Parkeon account representative, said the company has ongoing agreements with AT&T and T-Mobile and that each carrier’s strength is tested in the proposed areas, and the best is then chosen.
Still, Tarkanian expressed concern that the public was not included in initial discussions on the matter.
“It’s the consumer that uses it who has the problems, not us,” she said. “We need more input from the people who use these meters.”
For more information, visit lasvegasnevada.gov.
Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Nolan Lister at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492.