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New parking system for downtown Grande Prairie

In the next few years the old parking meters, that have been used for decades in the downtown of Grande Prairie, will be ripped out. They will be replaced with what Bylaw Enforcement Manager Chris Manuel says is a system that will be more efficient.

“The development of a pay-by-plate kiosk based parking system. It is very similar to what you will find in Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon. It is the way that many cities will replace traditional parking meters”

He says this will help create a better system of giving out tickets. The Enforcement vehicles that they already have will have license plate recognition technology installed to help in enforcing parking by-laws.

“It allows the utilization of cell phone technology, using mobile apps, and you can pay with credit cards. There is not a need to return to your vehicle. It will not be a pay and display technology. It allows us to create different efficiencies and options that aren’t available with parking meters”

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This will also open up the option for people to pay for parking but move around to different parking spots in the downtown without having to pay again like what happens now.

Their goal is to have a terminal for the parking every 8 to 12 stalls with the idea of expanding more as needed. With the change, they would also look at possibly changing the rates for less used stalls to be a lesser cost or more used stalls to have an increased cost.

There was also talks of having an ambassador program to help launch the new payment system which would have people hired by the city to help people use the machines.

Manuel explains that the other cities that were researched using the same system have seen a 10-30% increase in revenue from changing systems alone.

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