City council actions :: Parking meters

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April 26, 2010
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes
Parking meters’ digital overhaul coming in the fall

Come fall, don’t worry about bringing a pocket full of quarters to park Downtown. The city in September is expected to begin replacing its almost 20-year-old parking meters with modern, credit card-friendly updates.

When installation is complete, much of Downtown’s street parking will be managed through multiple-spot meters that will be located one to a side of every block. The meters will still accept coins but also credit cards and pay cards.

The city is planning to put up the meters in areas such as the Warehouse District and near Target Field, as well as in the core of Downtown.

It’ll be the first step in what’s expected to be a three-year meter replacement project. By 2012, the city should have three kinds of parking meters: ones such as those going up in Downtown, a slew of the current coins-only models and a number of modern individual-space meters that will be installed as early as this fall near the University of Minnesota campus.

Public Works staff touted several of the changes’ benefits, including that the new meters would be solar-powered and that multi-spot meters would free up old meter locations for bicycle parking.

But drivers used to skirting the system might be less than pleased with benefits aimed more at raising revenue. In particular, multi-space meters will make it more difficult to knowingly pull into an already-paid-for spot. The city also is planning to eventually use its wireless Internet network to instantly notify parking attendants when meters expire.

The $6.6 million plan got unanimous approval from the City Council.


North Loop gets small-area plan

The City Council unanimously voted to adopt a small-area plan that lays out a community-developed vision for the North Loop neighborhood. Technically an update to 2003’s North Loop Master Plan, it is aimed at guiding the city, public partners and community organizations in decisions for the next two decades.

Recommendations include promoting an increase in housing density and creating clearer and more direct pedestrian connections to mass transit, especially important with the impending arrivals of two more light-rail lines. The plan suggests that when the area’s infrastructure is better geared for accessibility, there could be more multi-family residential developments in the neighborhood.

The next step for the plan is the creation of a rezoning study, which after its approval would lead to zoning designations that would officially guide development. That’s expected to go before the council before year’s end.

Read the entire small-area plan at


Pothole funding gets a boost

The city’s Public Works Department is getting a head-start on erasing roadside evidence of the recent harsh winter, as the City Council voted to increase the budgetary allotment for pothole repairs by $500,000.

The bumped-up allocation had been recommended by Mayor R.T. Rybak in his proposed revision of the 2010 budget, but the council didn’t wait on a budget decision to make a pothole decision. It was a matter of timing, council members said.

Public Works Director Steve Kotke said this is “prime pothole-filling season.”  The extra money will allow about seven weeks with double the number of pothole-dedicated crews, he said.

Calling the recent slate of potholes one of the worst in recent memory, he said that if more permanent, preventive care doesn’t occur, “we’re probably going to see years like this pop up more often.”