New Parking Meters Feed Jump in Revenue for Minneapolis
The city of Minneapolis has collected nearly $800,000 more in its first year of using "smart" parking meters and so far in 2012 is on pace to bring in more than $2 million above what it collected in 2010, when Minneapolis still relied on the old, quarters-only parking meters, according to past figures supplied to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS by the city.
"We were a little surprised," at the increase in revenue, explained Tim Drew, the city of Minneapolis traffic engineer who overseas the installation of the new solar-powered, multi-space meters.
The city has installed 550 meters covering 5,500 of the city's approximately 7,000 parking spaces. By the end of this year, about 85 percent of the city's parking spots will be using the electronic meters, Drew said, which take Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards.
The expansion of payment options is the primary reason, Drew believes, that revenues have increased so dramatically, as people find it more convenient to pad the meter without having to search for elusive quarters. As a result, about 5,000 fewer parking tickets were issued in a six month period, as people were more likely to not let the meter expire.
"It's better than getting a $42 parking ticket," Drew said.
In 2010, parking meter revenue was $6,757,970, according to figures provided by the city. In 2011, revenue jumped to $7,545,843 - and that was with only half of the new electronic meters installed. As of the end of June, halfway through 2012, approximately $4.5 million had already been collected.
If the trend were to continue, and with installation due to be completed this Fall, the city would be on pace to pull in around $9 million in 2012 - a third more revenue than just two years ago.
Watch our story learn more about how the meters' new ability to charge higher rates for Twins and Vikings games, along with other special events, has also played a role in higher revenue.