Nov 1, 2022 - News

Des Moines delays parking upgrades after pay system problems

A photo of Des Moines parking meters.

Photo courtesy of the city of Des Moines

Des Moines is delaying installation of a new automatic parking meter system in the East Village.

Driving the news: Multiple problems emerged among the first pay stations that were installed in other areas of downtown, city traffic engineer John Davis told Axios Monday.

  • The new kiosks have at times struggled to process credit cards, which resulted in many aborted transactions between May and August.
  • There have also been issues in reconciling payments made at the pay stations with bank receipts but those problems have since been resolved, Davis said.
  • An unknown number of tickets have been dismissed or were never issued because of the ongoing problems.

Catch up fast: Des Moines City Council last year approved a nearly $3.3 million plan to convert just over 3,400 coin-operated parking meter spaces to pay station kiosks that allow payment via a phone app or credit card.

  • About 240 of 400 kiosks have been installed since April, which has converted just over 2,000 spaces to the new system.

What's happening: The city has delayed full payment for the first phase of the kiosk installations to vendor Cale America until the problems have been resolved.

  • The installation of the East Village system is being delayed to avoid disruption to the district's holiday shopping and Friday promenade season that starts Nov. 18.

Yes, but: Despite the early challenges, there are indications that the system will be far more user friendly when the upgrades are completed, Davis said.

  • More than 10,000 people already use the mobile app — which allows people to add time to their meter from their phone, he said.

What's next: Installation in other areas will continue in coming weeks, mostly on the west side of downtown.

  • East Village will be completed early next year.

Of note: The city also plans to add an Apple Pay option next year.


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