Parking payment app coming to Grosse Pointe Park meters

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 27, 2017

PARK — If you’re someone who no longer carries a wallet or pockets full of change, metered parking in Grosse Pointe Park is about to get a lot less stressful for you.

In early 2018, the city plans to partner with Atlanta-based Parkmobile USA Inc. on its parking meters. During a Dec. 11 Park City Council meeting, Assistant City Manager Nick Sizeland said that the city won’t need to purchase new meters to implement this system — which would have cost about $800 to $1,200 per meter for the dozens of metered spots along Mack Avenue, Kercheval Avenue, the City Hall parking lot and elsewhere.

Parkmobile will provide numbered stickers for all of the city’s meters, along with information for users, so the city doesn’t have to pay for this system, Sizeland said.

“There’s not really a cost to the community,” City Councilman Daniel Grano said after the meeting. “You just slap a sticker on (the meter). … You don’t have to buy any equipment.”

Although motorists can still use change for the meters and pay for parking the traditional way by feeding coins into the slots, they will soon have the option of using the Parkmobile app to pay for parking electronically using a credit or debit card. Those without a smartphone can still use Parkmobile by calling a toll-free number — listed on the meter stickers — to pay over the phone. Sizeland said drivers can also add money to a meter electronically with this system, so if the meter is running low or is about to expire, they won’t need to run outside to add more change.

Use of the Parkmobile app to pay for parking will cost people 35 cents more per hour — that’s on top of the 25 cents per hour the city charges for parking, City Manager Dale Krajniak said. The 35-cent fee goes to Parkmobile, not the city.

“The advantage is, you avoid a $15 to $25 (parking) ticket,” Krajniak said, noting that the additional cost with Parkmobile isn’t nearly as expensive as a parking fine.

Those who pay for parking the conventional way, using change, would still only pay 25 cents per hour to park, city officials said.

Parking enforcement officers will need to use smartphones or tablets for ticketing with Parkmobile, but Sizeland said they’ll still be able to write paper tickets.

“It gives us the ability to change meter rates (electronically),” Sizeland said. “It also shows the most popular (parking) times.”

He said there are other advantages to the city, including giving it the “ability to manage how long we can (allow) parking” in certain areas. In some in-demand areas, the city could use the system to limit the amount of time people can be parked at a meter.

Parkmobile has an estimated 7 million users nationwide, and it is used by about 25 Michigan communities, including Grosse Pointe City, Sizeland said.

Grosse Pointe City adopted the Parkmobile system in 2013.

“It’s not being used as much as (City officials) anticipated,” said Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni, who’s also the City’s public safety director. “But, in this day and age, it’s just another tool to be used by people if they choose to use it.”

With the City Council informally giving its blessing to Parkmobile Dec. 11, the Park is expected to launch the system in early 2018. Sizeland said it would take about four to six weeks to implement.

For more information about Parkmobile, visit www.parkmobile.com.