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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.

 


 

Joe Finio March 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Lovely, grab another few cents from people. How about 'policing' parking lot owners that charge outrageous fees from people who can only afford to visit for a day or two? How about opening up some of the areas that will allow a car or two more to park at the end of the street? All of this to grab a couple of more dollars. I've been a resident for 33 years. It's wrong.
anonymous March 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM
It's actually a good idea...if your a resident you shouldn't really oppose it..it's a great and simple way to make $400k..would you rather they raise tax on your property or raise the price on something that is used 90% of the time by non residents of the town ? Its like saying they are going to charge 25 cents to get over the bridge into town if your only visiting. If you live in town I'm sure you know where to park and when and where to go when the town jam packed..if you have to pay a meter sometimes, that's just the cost of luxury of living at the beach my friend
Karen Bolden March 15, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Agree Joseph......it seems to me if the meters were a lot cheaper (or even God for bid eliminated in most areas) that would leave more money is people's pockets to spend on other stuff and food. That way, everyone wins......they get something for their money except the privilege to park in a city where they have either already paid extremely high seasonal rent or homeowner's taxes!
Joe Finio March 15, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Dear Anonymous, that's the twisted thinking that got Obama elected and re-elected. It's my "privilege" to live here, my "honor' to pay more. How about lowering the rates of parking in order to gain more consumers and visitors so there will be more money flowing? How about that?
DR Marks March 15, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Did the headline say "small change?" I believe that each meter has a chain affixed to the post with the sign "Attach First Born Here!"
George Pizzo March 15, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I support this sensible approach.
Maria March 15, 2013 at 04:28 PM
So do what I do, save your quarters all year long and your small change problem is solved!
anonymous March 15, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Dear Hard Core Republican, Yes it's your privilege..u live at the beach, the place people vacation and wish they lived at..people drive 3 hours to spend the weekend here...an extra quarter in the meter isn't going to affect anyone's spending habits. Mostly Everyone who complains about the taxes is insane...I know people with houses comparable to a house in OC, that's 50 miles off shore, not in a luxury town, not on a big lot, not in a big school district, that pay 5 times or more what I pay in taxes. Yes it's a right to live wherever u want in the whole country,but most people don't have the opportunity to be full time resident in a vacation town.
tom dee March 15, 2013 at 07:56 PM
it is a mistake to think that giving a government unit more money will reduce the bite they put on you. Yes people will not come when they feel ripped off. You are correct that people will find different places when packed. I find hilton head sc to be very nice with free parking. They once charged for the parking but got rid of the fee. The damage done by Sandy will require a lot of money from different agencies so I wonder who smart the elected official are to push the meters while looking for money. Sandy will be painful and it should be attacked by smart people. Nothing in the 60 years I have been going to the shore have even looked like smart people were involved.
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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