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New for 2013: Park and Swipe in Ocean City

Searching for a parking spot near the beach or boardwalk? Credit-card meters will end the endless search for small change.

After a successful experiment in 2012 with a few dozen parking meters that accepted credit-card payments, Ocean City will expand the program to replace 800 traditional meters on streets near the beach and boardwalk.

The new meters would be available throughout most of the streets close to the Ocean City Boardwalk, on the north-end beachfront along Beach Road and E. Atlantic Boulevard and on the far south end along Central Avenue and 59th Street. The program also will include parking lots near the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, across from Ocean City High School, and at 14th and 59th streets. (See attached PDF for complete list.)

City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that raises fees for the new credit-card meters from 25 cents per 15 minutes to 25 cents per 10 minutes (or $1.50 per hour). A second and potentially final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for March 28.

The fee increase would bring Ocean City an estimated $400,000 in additional revenue in the season when meters are active (May through September), according to Finance Director Frank Donato. The increase will more than cover the estimated $150,000 it will take to lease the new credit-card-capable meter caps.

But the impetus for the new credit-card program was not increased revenue but increased convenience for visitors, shoppers and residents who will no longer be required to search for quarters to feed the meters.

The meters will accept credit cards, debit cards or coins. For card payments, parking will be available only in half-hour increments. Four-hour or six-hour maximum parking limits will remain in effect.

The parking meter caps used last year were solar-powered and communicated wirelessly (through cell-phone carriers) to a back-end system that reported in real-time on revenue, low battery power and other equipment problems. Credit-card payments are accepted at each parking meter (some systems require drivers to pay at nearby kiosks).

On Thursday, Council also voted to advertise for bids from vendors that can supply the meters.

 


 

John H March 15, 2013 at 09:16 PM
If parking were to be free then people would park their cars in a spot and leave it there for the week or weekend and there would be no available beach or boardwalk street parking. I would love to see a discount sticker or pass for property owners but have no problem with a meter system especially one like this. My only suggestion would be to have a few central kiosks on each block that issues a parking ticket to be displayed in window- perhaps it would be less expensive than having every meter with a swipe system built in to it.
Mr. B March 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM
how could you police parking lot owners? is there an ordinance that limits the amount of money a PRIVATE business can charge a customer? Heck, start policing the pizza places too, 2.50 for a slice of pizza is outrageous.
Mr. B March 16, 2013 at 11:54 AM
last I saw, there were'nt any empty spots.
Eric Sauder March 16, 2013 at 06:35 PM
The funny thing about those parking lots? A lot of them are owned by the municipality.
Eric Sauder March 16, 2013 at 06:40 PM
I was all for parking meters that take credit cards. In fact I suggested it at a council meeting. At the time I was told they couldn't stand up to the salt air. Apparently they have. I like the idea. How much is charged? That's another issue. And I think if we truly care about our downtown we should install them there. In terms of making suggestions to government that have actually been implemented, I'm 1 for whatever it was.

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